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Bingham - An early history

Source: The Kennebec Valley. S.H. Whitney 1887 Augusta: Sprague, Burleigh & Flynt, Printers to the State. 1887, CHAPTER VI.

Bingham was the southern town in the Bingham Purchase, upon the east bank of the river. It was named in honor of William Bingham, the proprietor of the purchase. The first settler in the town is supposed to have been Deacon Ephraim Wood.

Daniel Foster, Joshua Goodrich, William Fletcher and Reverend Obed Wilson were among the pioneers of the town.

William Fletcher, the first permanent settler in the county, moved from Solon to Bingham in 1799, and located near the present site of Bingham Village.

He built a mill upon Austin Stream, near its junction with the river, or just below the bridge.

William Fletcher lived in this town until his death. He died in 1809, aged sixty-four years. He had lived over a quarter of a century in the county; he bad seen three prosperous settlements begun, and at last he was obliged to lie down to rest. His wife sleeps beside him in the churchyard in the village. Upon the headstone are these words: "Mrs. Sarah Fletcher, born in Westport, Mass., in 1759; died 1834, aged 92."

They should never be forgotten by the inhabitants of Somerset County; they should be remembered for their works' sake.

Rev. Obed Wilson moved to Bingham from Starks in 1802. He was the son of Oliver Wilson, who married Sarah Harwood, a daughter of Peter Harwood, who settled in Showhegan in its early days.

Obed Wilson was a self-made man. His father settled in the town of Starks in its early history; the most of the territory in the town was at that time covered with forests.

Obed was not surrounded with the advantages that many of the youth are at the present time, but he bad an ardent thirst for knowledge, and in early life he adopted the maxim penned by one of olden time: "Get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding."

In 1800 be commenced to proclaim the Gospel of his beloved Redeemer.

In 1837 he preached the dedication sermon in the church at Bingham Village, and the following year at Solon.

A graduate of Bowdoin College, who listened to those two discourses, says that "in natural ability, Rev. Obed Wilson stood head and shoulders above those around him." He was chairman of the first board of selectmen at Bingham.

He represented the town in the Legislature eight terms; four at Portland and four at Augusta. As a political speaker he was equalled by few.

Reverend Obed Wilson was a noted man. He wielded a mighty influence for good, as his moral character was irreproachable.

Obed Wilson died Nov. 18, 1840. His wife, Christianna, died four years before. They rest side by side in the Pierce burying-ground, in Solon.

Oliver Wilson also sleeps by their side. The following epitaph is upon his headstone: "An honest man is the noblest work of God."

Joshua Goodrich settled in the town at an early date. He married Mary Jewel. Their children were Levi, Mary, Pickard, Alluvia, Asa, Joseph, Rebekah and Maxmillian.

Mary Goodrich married Daniel Wilson, son of Obed Wilson. In 1814 there were but two houses in Bingham Village. Seventy years ago the first four-wheeled carriage was used in town.

The town was incorporated in 1812.

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