History of Chesterville, Maine

                                                                     By the Late Oliver Sewall, Esq.

                                                                            Published in 1875

Preface:

A Farmington paper dated June 8, 1861, contains the following paragraph: "….in the death of Oliver Sewall, Esq, recorded in our last, the community meets with a twofold loss. Through a long life, Mr. Sewall was an industrious, liberal, public spirited and exemplary citizen; and, more than this, he was a sincere Christian, and while cheerful and active in al the social and political relations of life, he never for the higher interest and responsibilities associated with the life which is to come. The Congregational Church, of which he was a member, will miss his presence and his counsel. Mr. Sewall’s observations and recollections embraced almost the whole period of the history of the settlement and progress of the region of territory embraced in our county, and he has left many valuable papers. A few years since he finished a detailed history of Chesterville, with a view to its publication. We feel that justice to the memory of a departed friend like Mr. Sewall requires a more extended biographical sketch than we are now prepared to give, and which we shall embrace a future opportunity to present."

The history referred to in the paragraph here quoted is the work now for the first time presented to the public. And it is an invaluable legacy which its author with indefatigable and exhaustive research, prepared – not for anticipated pecuniary renumeration – but for the gratification and instruction of succeeding generations, within the limits of the locations he loved as the region of his birth, of his childhood’s recollections, and as the scene of the useful labors of a long life. The manuscript has been followed almost exactly, leaving the original works as an enduring monument of the ability and taste of the author. The latest addition made by the author to the manuscript seems to have been made early in 1858; consequently the history lacks some eighteen years of coming down to the date of publication. This fact imposes upon the publisher the necessity of preparing an appendix to follow Mr. Sewall’s history, and fill up the intervening time, and illustrate the original by reference to changes which time and progress have wrought.

Mr. Sewall kept a journal from his boyhood to within a few days of his death, in which he recorded the employments and observations of each day, and this, with the habit which the practice confirmed, enabled him to make the early History of Chesterville remarkably complete, and it hoped that the appendix – the publication of which will follow as soon as practicable - will make the whole work a model town history.

The plan proposed for the Appendix to the History of Chesterville will make it somewhat more extensive than the original work..

It is proposed, among other things, to give a few additional papers by Mr. Sewall; somewhat extended biographical sketchers of the author of the original history, Rev Jotham Sewall, Father Foster, and some others who have been prominent citizens; and the genealogy, as far as it can be procured, of each family. It is proposed likewise to give a brief description and sketch of the history of each farm – a feature never before attempted in a town History.

Among the subjects for distinct sections of the appendix for which more or less preparation has been made, may be enumerated the following: - Geology of Chesterville – Botony of Chesterville – Agriculture of Chesterville – Manufacturers of Chesterville – Future of Chesterville – Orcharding in Chesterville – Water Power of Chesterville – Scenery of Chesterville, etc, etc.

PUBLISHER

Introductory.

Chesterville was formerly a wilderness. Encroachment were made upon the primeval forest by a few individuals, who, with the intention of making permanent homes, began to make clearings and erect log cabins not far from 1780. At this time the territory afterwards constituting the town of Chesterville, was a part of the "District of Maine", then a part of Massachusetts. Maine continued a "district" some forty years after the date referred to, when it separated from the mother commonwealth and became a State.

The territory of Chesterville was first included in Lincoln County, which at the time extended from the ocean, near the Kennebec River, northerly to the Canada line. Out of this long county the County of Kennebec was formed, about the close of the eighteenth century. Still later, at different times, the counties of Somerset, Franklin, Sagadahock, and parts of some others have been chiefly taken from what was formerly the County of Lincoln. Chesterville is now one of the southerly towns in the County of Franklin, who seat of justice is in Farmington, the shire town. Before the organization of Franklin County in 1838 Chesterville was in the County of Kennebec.

Name

Several of the early settlers in the central part of the town were singers. They sometimes met in their camps to spend an evening in the practice of sacred music. On one of these occasions, (possibly when there were a few if any families in the place), they sung a tune named Chester, supposed to have been composed by Billings, and were much pleased with it. After extolling the tune awhile their thoughts seemed to revert to their situation – only a few – almost alone in the forest. Dummer Sewall proposed to call the new settlement Chester, a proposition which was agreed to without dispute. From that time to the incorporation of the town that section bore the name of Chester Plantation, while the southerly part of the town was called Wyman’s Plantation, no doubt in honor of the first inhabitant, Abraham Wyman. When the settlers petitioned for incorporation as a town one of their requests was that the new town should be named Chester; but as there was a town of that name in Massachusetts the legislature added Ville, and the new town came up Chesterville.

Description

Chesterville was originally "State’s Land", but unlike most other towns in the vicinity it was purchased in sections by different companies and individuals, at various times. The town in length, from north to south is seven or eight miles, its width at the north end about six miles, and at the south end four or five miles, while it is scarcely three miles in width a little south of the middle. Chesterville is bounded on the south by Fayette, east by Jay, north-west by Wilton, north by Farmington, north-east by New Sharon, and east by Vienna. It has a water line dividing it, in part from Farmington and Vienna and wholly from New Sharon, consisting of Wilson’s Stream below the mouth of the Little Norridgewock; the Sandy River thence to the mouth of McGurdy’s Stream; up that stream, through Whittier’s Pond, some four miles or more, about two hundred rods of Lane’s Brook, a tributary of Parker’s Pond, at its mouth and above, and through Parker’s Pond thence to Fayette line. The best farming land lies in the extremities of the town, which near the centre being bogs, swamps, plains, or ponds.

Purchases

"Chester First Purchase", as it has been called, was conveyed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, about 1790, to Dummer Sewall, Esq. Of Bath, and his associates, and contained 8000 acres or more. It was bounded easterly by a part of McGurdy’s Stream and the northerly pond through which it runs to Sandy River, north by the south line of Farmington, to a corner on the west side of Beaver-Dam brook, near the present dwelling house of the late Josiah Norcross; west by a line thence to Locke’s Pond, by that and Sand Pond to the south end of the latter, and a line sourth 30 deg. East to a hemlock tree about thirty rods west of Little Norridgewock Stream, and south by a line north 65 keg east – included the water power at what is now Parks’ or Central Mills – to McGurdy’s Stream. It is said that Benjamin Whittier, Esq, then of Farmington, was one of the purchasers, and that on division he took his part on the eastern side of the purchase.

It is believed that the south part of the town was bought and lotted off with what is now Vienna, as far west as the Little Norridgewock Stream and Pond, to a point a little further north than Seth Norcross’ dwelling house; as the bearings of the lines are very similar. North of this point it was bounded on the north-west by McGurdy’s Brook, Pond and Stream.

Another purchase containing about 1500 acres was made by Samuel Linscott. It included the land northwest of McGurdy’s Stream to Chester First Purchase; and was bounded west by Little Norridgewock Stream, and south by a line run due west from the outlet of McGurdy’s Pond to the Little Norridgewock.

In the south-west corner of the town is the purchase of Clifford & Judkins, extending about a mile north from Fayette line, and from the Little Norridgewock Stream and Pond to the Jay line.

Immediately north of this, and extending east to McGurdy’s Brook, is a tract of 1000 acres which was granted to the town for public uses. The worth of this tract was small, (as was found when sold,) for it contained a large portion of bog and pond.

North of this lay the purchase of Plummer and Eaton; but it extended east only to the Little Norridgwock Stream. This left some 100 acres between the grant to the town and Linscott’s Purchase, extending east to McGurdy’s Brook and Pond. This small tract was the last purchased from the State. It was made about 1820.

Bean’s Purchase lay in the north-west corner of the town as incorporated. It extended south of the south-west cove of Sand Pond some 180 rods, thence west to the Jay line. It was bounded east by Chester First Purchase to the north of Sand Pond.

South of this pond, between the two coves which form its south end, and extending some 140 rods further south than Bean'’ Purchase, are two lots of about 130 acres each, one where Enoch Black now lives, bought by John Wheeler, Senior, and the other by his son, Edward T Wheeler.

The remainder, situated sourth and east of the three last mentioned treacts, bounded east by Chester First Purchase, and Linscott’s, south by Palmer & Eaton’s Purchase, and west by Jay line, contained about 1500 acres, was bought by John and william Chany, about 1812. Except the small tract before mentioned this was the latest purchase from the State.

Not many years after its incorporation the town was enlarged by the annexation of a few lots from Wilton, containing what is now J. W. Butterfield’s farm and the land around it.

Natural Curiosities

One of the natural curiosities of Chesterville is found on the east side of Blabon, formerly called McGurdy's Hill, and partially connected with it, called "Old Bluff". On the west side of hisll there is a ledge about 70 feet in height, a number of rods in length, and almost perpendicular. The south-east side, however possesses the most value and excites the highest interest. Here lie beautiful sheets of granite, of almost any desirable thickness, rising some 200 feet, rather steep, yet falling back something like stairs, with occasionally a broad step of a wide sheet laying uncovered. At the base the mass of stones, of almost every conceivable shape excepting round, indicates that by frost or some other power granite sheets have lost their place in this mountain ledge, and have been accumulating for ages; having been broken by the fall or some convulsion into various shapes and sizes. Many pieces here bear a striking resemblance to sheets far up the hillside. As they lay in place these sheets are generally thicker below than above. Years ago a stone, somewhat spherical, of some two tons weight, lay perched just above this ledge. In 1815 two men undermined one side and rolled it down stairs. It went down at a rate not slow, and as the men followed down its rack, they saw where it leaped from one step to another, frequently breaking out fragments. They heard it too, away below them, jumping its way down to a place of repose. Near the base they found a flat stone, some eight or ten inches in thickness, and in size about ten by fifteen feet, so nearly balanced on the points of three stones beneath, that half the weight of a man settled one end about six inches, and when the weight was removed, it resumed its former position with a loud and singular noise, probably occasioned by the many cavities it partially covered.

On another spur of the same hill, some half mile north of this, is situated a fine ledge of granite, from which many valuable stones are quarried. It is called "Crowell’s Ledge". Still another, Called "Lakin’s Ledge", on the north-west front of the hill, affords many good stones. Granite also crops out on other parts of the same hill. The part called "Old Bluff" is thought by some to exceed any other hill in town in altitude.

Another natural feature of the town, somewhat remarkable, is called "The Bluff". It is situated some thirty or forty rods north-west of Sandy Pond, and is a ledge of rock almost perpendicular, facing the pond, very nearly 100 feet high. At its base are rocks and stones of various shapes and sizes, in apparent confusion for several feet in front of the ledge. Above the land mounts still higher a few rods and then falls off to the north-west. The higher part of the bluff is about thirty rods in length. Years ago, when pine timber was much more plenty than at present, there stood above and a little back of the "Jumping off Place" and learning somewhat toward it, a pine tree, some two and a half feet in diameter with a (…………..)

well proportioned body. It looked so inviting that some youngsters wishing to see it "pitchpole", cut it down. And down it went, as if hurried into the abyss below, almost top foremost. The top was not only broken off, but broken and split into pieces, - some of which were "almost as fine as ovenwood". Some forty feet of the but, however, stodd the shock very well, but ended over and came to rest among the trees and rock with its top toward the stump.

The Ridge

What is esteemed as the head of nature’s various works in Chesterville is the "The Ridge". It is what its name imports, a narrow ridge of land, to appearance composed of small stones, sand and gravel, some four miles long. Th sides are generally steep -–sometimes double or wide, and varying from six or seven to seventy or eighty feet in height. It commences about three-fourths of a mile south of the Centre Mills, and extends in a south-westerly direction, somewhat crooked and of unequal height and width, some forty rods into Rayette. For the most of this distance it appears to divide the waters of the Little Norridgewock and McGurdy’s Streams. A brook, however, running from the south-east, through Perkins’ Meadow in Fayette, comes to the Ridge on the east, several rods north of its southern extremity, receives a few tributaries from the north-east, and runs around the south end of the Ridge int oLane’s Pond, near its outlet. The outlet is the main branch of the Little Norridgewock Stream, which passes through Norridgewock or Moose Horn Pond, receives the Bog Stream from the west, and a few smaller streams, and joins Wilson’s Stream, (which is rapid) some mile or more above its mouth, which is at Farmington Falls. Besides the last pond above mentioned, two others, Round Pond and Sheldroke Pond, lie on the west side of the Ridge, all very near it. It is generally that that Sheldrake Pond leaks out – slowly no doubt – under the Ridge in two places, and into McGurdy’s Pond on the east side, and somewhat lower. The evidences of these outlets under the Ridge, are first, two hollows or depressions in the Ridge near Sheldrake Pond; second, not far from the northerly of the two hollows, water appears to come up in a bog, almost on a level with McGurdy’s Pond, which is so warm that it never freezes; thirdly, the write saw, april 23 1829, east of the sourthern hollow, a strip of open water, clear from ice, extending quite across McGurdy’s Pond, towards the outlet, and very straight, while the ice north and south of it remained undissolved. This is probably so every year, as other have frequently noticed such an appearance at the season of the year. It seems not only probable but almost certain that such a a road through the ice was made by a current of warm water. The hollows in the ridge may owe their origin to some other cause, or they may have been the effect of a leak underneath. These leaks must be small or they would draw off Sheldrake Pond to a level with the other. The former, however, may be fed by springs sufficiently large to hold the balance. It would seem that these outlets descend very deep to send up warm water. Sheldrake Pond has no other outlet excepting over a bog towards the north-west, in time of freshet. At such times, the water backs in from the Little Norridgewock, and only runs off as the flood subsides.

Streams

McGurdy’s Steam rises on the east side of the Ridge, in Cheserville, not a great distance from the south line, and passes through McGurdy’s and Whittier’s Ponds, receiving several brooks on both sides, and loses itself in the Sandy River, about a mile below Farmington Falls.

Wilson’s Stream, a rapid stream, rising in No. 4 and Temple, and running through Wilton, runs only a mile or two on the boundary of Chesterville.

Little Norridgewock and McGurdy’s Streams have little descent and afford but few mill sites. They are fed, partially at least, by swamps. Their shores in many places are skirted with meadowlands, which afford a cheap coarse hay, of no inconsiderable benefit to the farmers. Some of these were natural meadows. Tradition says that some men residing in Winthrop formerly cut and stacked hay near McGurdy’s Stream, dove up cattle to consume it in a sheltered place in the woods near by, and the drove them home again.

One small meadow on Mc Gurdy’s Stream is called "The Horse Meadow". In connection with this name, as the circumstance in which it originated, - the following story is told. Mr. Linscott, the owner, had cut and stacked the hay as usual, one season. Late in the fall some one in Farmington lost a horse, and after a fruitless search, being unable to learn anything of its whereabouts, he concluded that it was hopelessly lost. Some time in the winter Mr. Linscott wet after his stack of hay, when the mystery of the absence of the horse was solved. There wasn the horse but the hay was mostly gone. To all appearances, the horse had been living on it thus far, and for drink he had kept a path to a spring not far off, and contrived to keep it open {We have a well authenticated record of an instance where a horse had been left to himself, and that displayed the singular instinct of going frequently to its watering place in cold weather, and pawing open the ice.}

Ponds

North Pond is situated some short of two miles west of Parks’ Mills, contains an area of more than 100 acres, and sends it surplus waters into the Bog Stream. Chesterville contains several ponds not yet described. The largest of these, of some 80 acres surface, in the southeast part of the town, (a small portion being in Vienna) is called Perry’s Pond, and empties into McGurdy’s Stream. Whortleberry Pond lies north of North Pond, into which it runs by a stream of the same name. Sugar Stream, of about the same magnitude as Whortleberry Stream, rises in Jay and joins Whortleberry Stream from the west.

At the south-east corner of the town is a large and beautiful sheet of water known as Parker’s Pond. This pond contains several picturesque islands. In the southern part of the town there are several brooks and streams, whose waters find their way to the Androscoggin through Parker’s and a chain of other Ponds in Mount Vernon, Fayette, Wayne, and Leeds.

The Plains

Among the natural features of the town "The Plains" deserve notice. These are some two miles long and half a mile wide, lie east and south-east of Parks’ Mills. The tract is by no means level; still there are patches that are nearly so. There were but few bushes or trees on The Plains when the settlement of the town was commenced, but there was quite a growth of blueberries, strawberries and grass. The tract had probably been frequently burned over by the Indians, which checked the growth of timber but promoted that of shrubs and grass. The pioneer settlers used "The Plains" as a common pasture for many years

Geological Conjecture

It is the opinion of some that almost the whole of Little Norridgwock and McGurdy’s Streams, with a part of Wilson’s Stream and Sandy River were once engulfed in a large pond or lake, the outlet of which was near what is now called Smith’s Mills, in Fayette, into the Androscoggin, and that the Ridge was then formed by the current. If the hills showing themselves on each side of New Sharon Falls were at some past period joined in one so as to stop the Sandy River in that direction, this state of things did exist, and such a conjecture is well founded. The appearance of the bed of the river at the Falls and below, and the make of the intervales for quite a distance down river, (first a mixture of loam and coarse gravel, a little farther down fine gravel, and farther yet, sand coarse and then fine) indicate that such a cutting through the hills and running away of a lake did once take place. This opinion is rendered more plausible when the steepness of the hills on each side of the Falls is taken into account. We rarely find such shaped hills where no current has operated, unless formed of ledge. The Falls once thus submerged, a testimony of the existence of such a lake, and now slightly in some instances, covered with soil.

Another fact corroborative of this belief is the existence of narrow patches of intervale, one at and above the mills at the Falls, on the north side of the river and another just below on the south side. This shows that a larger, wider channel than is needed for ordinary flow of the river was made when the lake was drained, and as a matter of course has been partly filled up since. Nor is this a solitary instance. The pond, hills, and stream near Wilton Upper Village, with the intervales at, below and southwesterly, to the Androscoggin, for a case in point. At the south end of Wilson’s Pond, near the road to Bartlett’s Corner, the land is only about twenty feet higher than the surface of the pond at its usual height. The hills at the village are doubtless somewhat higher, and if connected by an intervening ridge, would stop the stream and raise the pond, which in such a case, would send its waters into the Androscoggin, not far from Jay Bridge. The steep hills on the sides of the stream at the Village, and make of the bed of the stream and the land near it below, plainly show that the stream once cut its way through these hills.

Early Settlers – Abraham Wyman

Abrahm Wyman was the first white inhabitant of what is now Chesterville. He began on the farm which has for several years been owned and occupied by Seth Norcross – about the year 1782. His family was the only one for about a year between Readfield or Mount Vernon and the Sandy River. They lived in a quite lonely condition, having few if any collers or visitors, until Mr. Sewall and Mr. Linscott moved in, about three miles north of them. After this (as Mrs. Wyman stated in after-years) Mrs. Sewall and Mrs. Linscott being sisters, used frequently to walk down to visit her barefoot!

After a few years Mr Wyman moved to Livermore. He did not reside there however many years, but returned and lived with his son Daniel. He died in 1802, his wife in 1817.

Dummer Sewall

On the 23rd day of March, 1783, after a toisome journey of six days, with ox treams from Bath, Dummer Sewall, son of Col. Dummer Sewall of Bath, arrived with his family, and commenced a residence on the farm lately occupied by his son, Otis C Sewall. He had previously made a clearing and put up a camp, in which he and Mr. Linscott, with their families, took up their abode. Here they lived together for some time, or til Mr. Linscott had prepared a rough dwelling.

Some time in 1783 Mr. Sewall constructed a sleigh, the first made in the town, and probably the first in Franklin County. If now in existence it would be esteemed a great curiosity. The bottom was framed like others of the day, but with little if any iron work on it. The sides, forepart, and back of the top were of birth bark, doubled to make it more firm, and to show the same side of the bark outside and in. He and his wife and child rode in it to Bath, and returned again in it. Their visit to bath was about ten months after location in their wilderness home. Mrs. Wheeler, who informed the writer of this incident, had tested the sleigh by riding a short distance in it.

Two years after this Mr. Sewall built a double sleigh, as perhaps we should esteem it. He owned no horse. Contemplating another journey with his family to bath in this, he engaged one owned by Mr. Linscott, and to match it another belonging to Mr. Eaton of Sandy River. A day or two before his journey he got them together and harnessed, all but the long bridles, Mr. Linscott helping and his wife, with their child Andrew, four years old, looking on. The horses were regarded as very steady and gentle. Mrs. Linscott, with some uring, got in with her child. Immediately on this the horses started, and were soon in a fast fun, up by Mr. Linscott’s, he and Mr. Sewall endeavoring in vain to overtake them. Mrs. Linscott did her best to keep her child and herself from being hurt, but she could not keep her seat, but was tossed about in all parts of the sleigh. The horses ran on some two and a half miles, when, some half way down the north side of Locke’s Hill, the strap holding up the tongue gave way, and the tongue was driven into the snow and even into the ground, tipping the sleigh and stopping the team. The shock threw the riders several feet into the snow, but did not hurt them. Mrs. Linscott being thinly clad, was poorly prepared for a such a ride, and on clambering into the road, found her feet so cold that she sat down, rubbing them in the snow. She had barely finished this when her husband came up, and soon after Mr. Sewall, who had been delayed a little by looking for the child beside the road. They soon got the team in such order that the horses gave Mr. Linscott a slow ride home.

Mr. Sewall, with others, in 1784 and 1785, built the first saw and grist mill in the town, on Little Norridgewock Stream, near the present side of Park’s Mills, to which Stephen Titcomb of Sandy River, as tradition says, hauled the first log and helped saw it into boards. Mr. Sewall put up tow or three other mills in later years, being a carpenter by trade. He raised quite a family, the oldest of who, Dummner, was the first white child born in Chestervile. He was born Aug. 22 1783. A lot of land near John Butterfield’s was bestowed as a birthrighte, which was sold about the time he attained the age of 21. Mr. Sewal made and repaired cooper’s ware soon after he became a resident in Chesterville. He lacked some of the tools necessary in this business. Needing a "croze" he broke a piece from the pint of a handsaw and made one. A piggin, a vessel with one stave extending higher than the others for a handle, would be a rare sight now; but the writer used to see them in boy hood. They ordinarily contained about six quarts and most mostly used in milking. A two story house, raised Sept. 12 1788, was built by Mr Sewall, in which he lived many years. Mrs. Sewall once said, "It has stood sixty years and not a single death has occurred in it." This house has since been taken down. Mr. Sewall was the first Postmaster and Justice of the Peace in the town, both of which offices he filled several years. He died in February 1846 at the age of 85 years. His wife died May 1852. [Mr. Sewall was conspicuous for industry, and his long life was one of great usefulness.]

Samuel Linscott

Samuel Linscott moved into the place with Dummer Sewall. He began on the next lot north of Mr. Sewall’s. He helped build and carry on the first mills in the place, and owned one half of a sawmill built some eighteen years later. He carried on farming rather more extensively than his neighbors. He made one of the purchases of the town, and served the town as treasurer for the first two years after its incorporations, and as constable and collector during three years. Capt. Wyman, his brother, and Mr. Linscott, once went on snowshoes to Moose Hill hunting. They found three moose and each selected his object, fired. Two dropped dea, while one remained almost or entirely unhurt. Their dogs worried this one to madness when it rushed towards Mr. Linscott; Capt. Wyman in the mean time loaded for another shot. Mr. L dropped his gun and seized his axe, waiting the assault. The moose came rushing towards him, and just as he was crouching for his final spring, Mr. L. settled the axe into his head and thus killed him.

One of the first years of his residence here, Mr. Linscott needed potatoes to plant. Stephen Titcomb had some to spare. Mr. Linscott with his axe went and labored for Mr. Titcomb for two days for two bushels of potatoes. At night of the second day he shouldered his potatoes and started for home. The stream had risen a little where he crossed on a tree, so that when he was fairly on it with his load he found that it was afloat. He lost his axe and had to lay his bag of potatoes across the tree mostly in the water. Watching the most favorable opportunity, as well as he could judge in the darkness, he jumped for ‘dear life’ towards the shore. He then went home. The next morning, with some help, he recovered his axe, and potatoes. Bu the potatoes yielded him a light return for all his labor and risk, as few of them ever grew.

Mr. Linscott’s son Daniel, about 18 years of age, was drowned in May 1797. He was drowned just above the first sawmill, after it had been removed up stream, and his was the first death by drowning among the settlers of the town. He was tending the mill alone, and as is supposed, went to haul up a log, and that in doing it he got into the millpond, perhaps by sliding down between two logs. A man coming down the stream to mill in a canoe, seeing a hot upon the water and the mill running, gave the alarm. The body was not found till the next day. Mr. Linscott’s younger son, Joseph died in August 1789, at the age of about 18 months. This was the first death of a white person within the town. Mr. Linscott died in Nov 1816 and his wife in July 1843. In the same house a sister of Mrs. Linscott’s – widow Hannah Foster – d. May 1846 at the age of 94. Hers was the death of the oldest person to be found on town records in 1856.

William Bradbury

A few years after the settlements just recorded, William Bradbury began to clean the lot next north of Mr. Linscott’s, the farm on which his son William O Bradbury Esq. Afterwards lived and died. He was a carpenter by trade, and he superintended the framing of many buildings in the vicinity. Soon after he made a beginning on his lot – possibly before he had a family – he went to Wintrhop to mill with a hand seld. He helped build and occupy one sawmill, owning one eighth part. This was the mill of which Mr Linscott owned half. Mr. Bradbury worked on the first sawmill erected in Chesterville for others, but owned no part of it. He was one of the first board of Selectman and Assessors of the town, and served in that capacity at different times seven years; as Clerk, fourteen years; and as Treasurer, twenty-six years. Out of the fifty-four years of the town’s corporate existence up to April 1856, he and his son William O Bradbury, have had care of the town’s treasury, in the same house, forty-one years. In later years he was deacon of the Baptist church in town. Befre and after this he frequently conducted religious meetings on the Sabbath, readying printed sermons when no minister was present. He commenced this practice soon after Rev. Jotham Sewall commenced preaching – he having conducted such meetings, previous to that time. These meetings were called "Society Meetings: in the former days. They originated August 27 1786 in Thomas Davenport’s camp. The Wednesday evening prayer meetings, which were kept up with very few interruptions some forty-five or fifty years, originated in the same camp, May 21, 1788. Mr. Bradbury conducted these, as well as the singing in all such meetings, in the Plantation some twelve or fourteen years prior to 1810. He died Nov 1846 at the age of upwards of 80. His wife died Nov 1827 age the age of 67.

John Mitchell

About the date of Mr. Bradbury’s commencement of improvements on his lot, John Mitchell began to clear the lot now (1856) owned in part by David M Halilton, it being the second lot north of Mr. Bradbury’s. He cleared some land and put up buildings a few years before he married and moved into his home. He had an interest in one sawmill at least, and did something at lumbering for a number of years, besides carrying on his farm. In the earlyieer days of culture of the soil of this region, cultivators were unknown. Corn and potatoes were managed wholly by the hoe. No plow was introduced for several years. The first that the writer remembers of any operation of the kind was started by Mr. Mitchell. He prepared a yoke so that the oxen could walk with one row between them – the ring and staple being placed close to the near ox. In this way, by shearing the plow a trifle, it could follow the near ox and do the work. Many pieces of corn and potatoes were cultivated this way. After a few years, however, this mode was superseded by the horse and a light plow. Mr. Mitchell was chosen ensign in 1804, when the militia was first organized in town. He was promoted to the lieutenancy, and not long after, in 1810, resigned. He died at his son’s in Bloomfield in January 1850, at the age of 88 years and was brought to Chesterville for interment. His wife died in Feb 1839 at the age of 75 years.

Jotham Sewall

Jotham Sewall established his home on the lot north of Mr. Mitchell’s – the farm where he lived and died – in March 1788. Like others of the pioneers he began to do something on is land about five years earlier. He planted a nursery of appletrees – probably the first in what is now Franklin County – in Sept 1783. Some ten years after this he set out the first orchard. He once carried a grist to mill at Winthrip, on a handsled. He carried on his farm, working occasionally at his trade – that of a mason – until about 1798, when he engaged in preaching the gospel. Much of his time after this, when health permitted, was spent in missionary labor, mostly in this state, though sometimes extending to other states. When he first raised apples to spare they could be exchanged, bushel to bushel, for corn. He died Oct 3 1850 at the age of 90 years.

John Bradbury

John Bradbury began on the lot next north of Mr. Sewall’s, soon after him. He was a joiner and glazier by trade, and for many years made most of the window sashes used in the vicinity. He also, in addition to his farm work, finished off many rooms. He always appeared to entertain a dread of poverty. Before he was married he was sleeping one night in his camp on a bench, or rough temporary bed, when he dreamed he saw poverty, in the form of a large two story house, moving slowly in various directions. In his dream he had fears lest it should run over him and he watched its motions with intense interest. Soon it seemed to be moving towards him, and running in a direct line, was now about to run over and crush him sure enough. He put forth his utmost strength, and made a desperate leap and found himself awake several feet from his bunk. Striking the floor no doubt awoke him. Whether the dread above mentioned was hereditary or premonitory or came over him in accordance with his natural tendencies, it is not easy to decide. He became poor, however, before his death, which occurred in July 1851. He first wife died in Apr 1831.

Abraham and Thomas Davenport

Near the same time, Abraham and Thomas Davenport began respectively on the two lots next north. The wife of Abraham Davenport was sister to the wife of Rev. Jotham Sewall. Thomas Davenport married a sister of John and William Bradbury, and his first child, Nathaniel, was born Feb 29 1792. It was said of him that his birthday came only once in four years. In was an occurrence very rare for a birth to take place on that day. Not many years elapsed before they returned to Hallowell where they had formerly resided. The former left about two years before the latter, who left in april 1799. The former carried on the tallow chandler’s business in Hallowell a number of years, but died at his son’s in Mobile, Alabama, about 1851. His wife died in Hallowell. Thomas is supposed to have resided in Hallowell the remainder of his life.

Joshua B Lowell

The next lot north was taken up by Joshua B Lowell, son of Reuben Lowell, one of the early settlers in Farmington. He opened the first house for entertainment of travelers, within the limits of the present town, while it was still a plantation. He was chosen the first Clerk, and served the town in that office nine consecutive years. He served also as Selectman and Assessor six years, and was the second Postmaster in the town. A paralytic shock rendered him helpless some four years before his death, which took place in March 1821. His age was 55 years. His wife died in November 1822.

Edward Locke

Pretty early among the settlers last described, Edward Locke arrived from New Hampshire. His family lived a short time in John Mitchell’s house, while he was making a beginning on the lot next north of Mr. Lowell’s, and putting up a log house. His lot was considerably larger than others south of it. He preached occasionally, mostly in places adjacent. It was not, however, many years before he left the place. Some of his sons occupied the farm, and he, occasionally, with several changed and a few interruptions, until 1828, when it was divided and passed into other hands. On this large lot there are now four residences, and about ten others own parts of it. Mr. Locke was supposed to own more property than any other man in the place; for he had several pieces of real estate in other towns. At the time of his decease he owned a house and lot in Augusta. He died in March 1824. He son Ward, a preacher of the Freewill Baptist denomination, occupied the farm some ten years, the closing part of his life. He died in November 1828.

John Wheeler

John Wheeler Sr, moved into the place from York in 1793. He had several children, lived a year or two in a log house then recently vacated by the removal of Jotham Sewall into the framed house he had built, then moved to the place he afterwards bought of the state, where Enoch Black now [1856] resides, south of Sand Pond. Mr. Wheeler was a tailor by trade, the first in the town – at which trade he worked a part of the time. He was born in May 1750, as appears by the town record. His wife died of typhus fever in March 1814, and his daughter Sally, about two months later. His son’s wife, living near, died May 8, and Mrs. Chandler, a married daughter, May 15 of the same year. A few years after these afflictive events he sold and went to Wilton, living in the family of Mr. Hiscock, who married his youngest daughter, where it is understood some years ago, at the age of about 90. It was generally believed that he was born in England. Mrs. Wheeler, when probably about fifty years old, more than once went to her son John’s, fully three miles, over bad roads, carrying her flax, and spun two double skeins of linen, and returned home at night, traveling both ways on foot.

Samuel Judkins

Samuel Judkins Senior, was the second settler in the south part of the town, then called Wyman’s Plantation. He first lived near a large spring south of the dwelling house of Moses French. This was probably about 1786 or 87. Not long after he took up a lot west of the Ridge, where Burnham Morrill now lives, and where Mr. Judkins put up buildings and resided the remainder of his life. He died in Jul 1803. His body was carried about two and a half miles to be buried. For this purpose a long bier was prepared. The poles were placed a sufficient distance asunder to admit a horse between them. When ready, with the coffin upon it – a saddled horse at each end of the bier, between the poles – the bier was raised, and each end of a pole placed in a stirrup of the saddle, and thus conveyed to the place of interment by two horses. Mr. Judkins had several sons. Samuel Jr was remarkable for the ability to turn one heel forward, standing with his feet parallel – toe to heel – beside each other. He lived a few years near where his father began, but subsequently resided in different places. Jospeh and Benjamin were fifer and drummer to the militia company when first organized. Of the latter Rev Jotham Sewall in his Journal of May 10 1800, says, "With S W Eaton visited Benjamin Judkins, who was very low. He had been struck in the ham by a porcupine’s tail, and some of the quills had worked through his leg".

Daniel Wyman

While Mr. Judkins lived near the large spring, Daniel Wyman, son of Abraham Wyman, came from Readfield, built a house and resided a little north of him. He lived here till about two years after he was chosen Captain, (elsewhere stated), whenhe removed to Livermore. A year or two after, however, found him returned, with his father and mother. Not far from this date he built a house and began to reside where Franklin Currier now lives, which is on the same lot where he first built. He lived here quite a number of years. He was somewhat noted as a hunter, and in the latter years of his life he was heard to say that he had shot one moose at least on every square mile for several square miles around. A few years after 1820 he sold his farm and moved to Kingfield, living with one of his sons. When almost 70 years old he visited another son residing near the Dead River. Here he was on the day that his "three score and ten". That day, with his favorite, the gun, well loaded, he made a hunting excursion, with one attendant. As they were in a canoe on the Dead River, the espied two moose swimming across. He was told to fire. "Not yet" he said. The moose were soon climbing the river bank near each other. Then he fired. On examination it was found that the ball had passed through the vitals of one, killing it outright, and then broke the leg of the other, so that he was soon dispatched. Thus he killed two moose at one shot the day he was seventy years old. Two credible persons informed the writer that they had seen the ball that executed this feat. In the days so far back towards our Revolutionary struggle, as were those that dawned upon the early settlement of this region, the military spirit prevailed. Wyman’s Plantation, with a part or all of the present town of Vienna, (then called Goshen,) united in forming a company of militia, some years before either town was incorporated. At the organization of this company Daniel Wyman was chosen and commissioned Captain, and he continued in office about two years. He found the cost of uniforming and equipping himself, and the "treating" then customary, bore too heavily upon his purse. He served in the Revolutionary War and has been known to say that he had taken as good aim at a man as he ever had at a moose. He rendered much assistance in 1804 and 1805 to the officers of the company in Chesterville, then recently organized.

Samuel Perry

Samuel Perry settled on the present Elisha Perry farm about the date of the settlement of Daniel Wyman. He had been a Revolutionary soldier, and his wife, who outlived him more than thirty-four years, drew a pension on account of his services. He built a house of hewn timber, put up something like a log house, where he lived many years. This house was taken down several years ago. He died in 1821, at the age of 86. His wife died in 1855, at the age of more than ninety.

Mr. Russell – Andrew Dunning

In the south-west part of the town, where David Gordon now lives, a Mr. Russell, father of Dr. L W Russell, settled in an early day. Being of the first settlers west of the Ridge, that neighborhood took its name – Russellborough – from him. He left the town not many years after. Near the same time Andrew Dunning settled not far from Isaac Eaton’s present location but continued there only a year or two.

Jeremiah Bragdon

No much, if any, after the preceeding, Jeremiah Bragdon settled where Moses French now lives. Being a blacksmith he carried on blacksmithing as well as farming. He was the first blacksmith in town. He joined the Congregational Church in 1797, and being a good reader he frequently read sermons and conducted religious meetings in Wyman’s Plantation on the Sabbath, when no minister was in attendance. He probably had improved better advantages of education than most of those around him.About the commencement of the present century he became insane. He was an athletic man, and three of his neighbors had their hands full to confine him when first taken. He would contrive to do some mischief even when bound with a little slack chain. If near enough, he would get his head into the fire, unless closely watched. He was taken care of at different places, but mostly at home, by those living in the vicinity, for a year or two at least. His insanity afterwards measurably left him. In after years he seemed to think that he must sound every letter in all his words when talking. It was amusing to hear him do this in such words as though, bought, slaughter, could would, etc. He would not only give a quicksound to GH and L, in these and like words, but to U the full sound, as of W in cow, and the W A like sound, or speak the letter in all words where it is silent. He died in November 1812; his wife in Nov 1806.

Joseph and Moses French

The closing ten years of the last century brought a number of inhabitants into Wyman’s Plantation. Joseph French, a native of New Hampshire, lived and died where Isaac French now resides. In April 1791, he came by a spotted line for three miles, by way of Starling, now Fayette, to begin on his lot. He and his brother Moses built and lived in a camp near the south

Line of the town, while they were making a beginning in clearing their land. They came on foot from South Hampton NH with packs on their backs and six day’s provisions. Joseph French was then nearly twenty-one, and had not previously been thirty miles from home. The spotted line above mentioned was south of the late Daniel Bachelder’s, now in Fayette, who had settled on the place where he lived many years, a short time before. Here Mr. French and his brother made a short stay, until they put up a camp. He labored on his lot in summers, and went back to New Hampshire to spend the winters, for three years. He and his brother camped together a part of the time, and husked their corn in the camp by firelight or moonlight, in the evenings of Autumn. One evening, while this employed, a bear came snuffling around, looked in, and snapped his teeth, but dared not venture in, for fear of the fire. The next morning, Mr. Judkins came along with his dog where they were gathering corn. The dog scented the bear and found him in the edge of the woods asleep, but they did not capture him. Mr. French took many a load of corn to Hallowell with his oxen, and sold it for two shillings a bushel. ON returning he not unfrequently moved up families who were emigrating to the forest frontier. In one instance he was obliged to tie a woman and child on the top of a load to keep them from falling off. Occasionally he would drive all night. He served the town as Selectman and Assessor seventeen years, and was a Justice of the Peace one or more terms. He served the Congregational Church as Deacon, thirty-two of the last years of his life. He was a joiner by trade, and worked at his trade in connection with his farming operations. He was a successful farmer and an industrious citizen. He died in Nov 1841; his wife in Nov. 1855.