Farmington: Over the years Farmington has had numerous newspapers. Copies of the earliest ones have not survived, at least not many. And any surviving issues are inaccessible. However, early issues from the 1870's are on microfilm at the local University of Maine Library. The earliest paper on film was the Franklin or Farmington Chronicle. Into the 1880's there were two papers - The Chronicle and The Franklin Journal. The issues that were microfilmed were not complete, but we are fortunate to have many. At the end of the 1890's, the newspapers combined to become the Franklin Jounral and Chronicle. Most issues have survived, and have been microfilmed. Those films are available at the UMF Library.
Most people review these papers hoping to find an obituary. There is no guarantee that an obituary was published however. It appears that only the obituaries of the more influential people were 'important' enough to be printed. However, there are Death Notices, which frequently mention people from all over the area. And sometimes a death is mentioned in the news of the Town where the person resided; or there may be a mention of a funeral or relatives who came from out-of-town to attend.
In addition to the Death Notices, marriages and births are recorded. However, there is no guarantee that everyone is mentioned.
The above information pertains to the earliest issues. As the papers became more county encompassing, obituaries were printed more often, and other helpful tidbits were more complete.
As we near the present, the papers are quite complete. And most issues are available on microfilm into the 1990's.
Phillips: The Brackett Family printed a newspaper in Phillips from the 1870's into the early 1900's. (1878-1918) The paper was named The Phillips Phonograph for several years, and was later renamed The Maine Woods. Copies have been microfilmed - however, they are not complete. The films are available at UMF and Farmington Public Library. There are some surviving hard copies stored at the Phillips Historical Society, but are only available for viewing during the summer hours. And it would be best to make an appointment with the curator to view them.
The UMF library does have a microfilm machine that will make copies.
Wilton: During the late 1800's, Wilton had various newspapers - some being very short in duration. The Wilton Public Library has some on microfilm. There was the Record 1886-87; and 1889-91. The Sentinel had two issues in Dec. 1896. The Wilton Observer Jan '71-Mar '71 (unsure if 1800's or 1900's) Wilton Times from 1949... There's some speculation that the newspapers were actually printed for longer periods of time, but at the time the microfilms were produced, there may not have been any issues available to be copied. The librarian mentioned they have a microfilm machine available for viewing these films, but the machine doesn't have the ability to make copies, so anyone who reviews the films for information, must be prepared to write down any information they find.
Rangeley: Rangley has had a newspaper called the Highlander. What is available, and whether copies survive, I do not know. The Rangeley Public Library would be the best source of information on this particular paper.
Kingfield: The Irregular newspaper has been printed in Kingfield in more recent years. It is geared more for "sports" who plan to visit the area for recreational purposes - hunting, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling. The paper has featured articles on people and things of interest; however, surviving issues may or may not be available. Perhaps the local library can help with further information.
Chesterville, New Sharon, Strong, Salem, Madrid, Freeman, and others: To my knowledge, none of these towns have ever had their own newspapers. In the early years of Franklin County, Farmington's papers have covered the outlying areas of the county.
Because old issues of newspapers can be helpful with historical and genealogical information, reviewing them can add "color" to a family tree. Unfortunately, there aren't any kind of indexes for these papers, and there's no guarantee that information will have been printed. So should you be interested in specifics, plan to spend some time at the microfilm machine.
If you have questions, e-mail me: Nancy Porter