ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF KENNEBEC COUNTY MAINE
THIS fertile, farming town, next north of Augusta, has the Kennebec river for its western boundary, China for its eastern and Winslow for its northern. Settlements here commenced as early as 1760; but for eight years only ten families had become residents, including all in the present town of Sidney, which was incorporated within Vassalboro’s first limits. April 26, 1771, it was first recognized as a corporate body, and 30 Jan 1792, Sidney, the part west of the river, was incorporated a town by itself, leaving the present Vassalboro. The three ranges of lots between the river and the gore were surveyed and numbered by Nathan Winslow in 1761. The lots east of it, shown on the map, page 1096, were surveyed and plotted by John Jones in 1774, and designated as the fourth and fifth ranges. These numbers are still generally referred to in deeds. East of the third range Jones established a new line for the western boundary of the fourth range, leaving a strip of land of unequal and irregular width extending across through the town, and referred to in deeds as the Gore. The principal inlet to Webber pond is in this gore, which extends over Cross hill to the southward. Northeast of the town house it is included in the farms of Z. Goddard, Elijah and James Pope and Frank H. Lewis.
The records of the town from 1771 to the present are in four leather-bound books, well preserved and beautifully written. The first half of the first volume records that on May 17, 1771, James Howard, justice of the peace by the power in him vested, issued his warrant to Matthew Hastings to summon the freeholders to meet at James Bacon’s inn to chose the first officers of the new town. The town meetings were held for years at inns on either side of the river, and not until 1795 was it voted to build a Vassalboro town house. In February of that year one was decided upon, to be thirty by forty feet, and to be placed near Peter Tallman’s, the site, according to tradition, being on the river road, about half way between Vassalboro Corner and Riverside, on the farm now Stephen Freeman’s then Samuel Redington’s. The present town house is the same building, having been removed after a vote of September, 1828, ” to the land of John Dutton near the corner made by the intersection of roads leading by Capt. Ballard’s and by Israel Goddard’s.” Samuel Redington was appointed to remove the house to its present site, where it was repaired. August 11, 1771, it was voted to build two pounds, to be completed by the following June â€” one on David Spencer’s lot, the other on James Burnes’ the inhabitants to meet December, 1771, to build them, and every absent settler was to pay 2s. 6d. lawful money.
In the present century a town pound was built of stone, which is still to be seen in a dilapidated condition. In the beginning of the present century the increase of settlers was marked. In the census of 1800 the population was 1,188, and in 1810 it had reached 2,063. Lumbering and farming were the principal occupations of the residents, and up to this time no provision had been made for the care of the town poor. In 1811 a small sum was voted for this purpose, and in 1812 a house was rented for their use. In 1813 it was voted to buy of John Roberts a house and two acres of land for a poor house, which was sold in 1827. In March, 1831, the annual town meeting voted to purchase a poor farm, now one of the best farms in town, on the north shore of Webber pond. In 1815 the keeping of the poor for the year was bid off at seventy-four cents each per week According to the custom of those early days a bounty of twenty cents each was voted for crows’ heads in the year 1806, which was raised to twenty-five cents in the year 1807. The people had the herring industry then to supply them with fish, which swarmed up the river to Seven-mile brook, and on to the pond. In 1806 the privilege of the. catch was bid off, reserving to each freeholder what he might want, if he went in the season and paid fifty cents per barrel. Nathaniel Lovejoy purchased the monopoly of Seven-mile brook in 1811 for $185.
Civil Lists Throughout the town records it appears that the officers were selected for their ability, and to their discretion was entrusted the most important affairs of the town. ” Voted to refer the subject to the selectmen with full authority,” is a common entry.
The moderator of the annual meeting was usually the one deemed the leading man in town. The moderators before 1800 were : Matthew Hastings, who served first in 1771; Remington Hobby, 1774; Dennis Getchell, 1775; Doctor Stephen Barton, 1777; Captain Abial Lovejoy, 1782; Doctor Obadiah Williams, 1788; Ebenezer Moore, 1791, and Reuben Fairfield, 1794. The selectmen and their years of service, if more than one, are given in the following list: 1771, Dennis Getchell, 8, Matthew Hastings, 10, Eevi Powers; 1772, Ebenezer Farwell, 2; 1773, Charles Webber, 2; 1774, Daniel Fairfield, 4; 1775, Ebenezer Pattie, 3, Samuel Devens; 1776, Isaac Farwell, jun., 2: 1777, Remington Hobby; 1778, Stephen Barton, 2, Joseph Webber; 1779, Nehemiah Getchell, Abial Lovejoy, 6; 1780, Flint Barton, 3; 1781, Hugh Smiley, 2; 1784, Captain Samuel Grant, 3; 1785, Thomas Smiley, 4; 1786, Benjamin Dyer; 1787, Obadiah Williams, 2; 1788, Lieutenant Ebenezer Moore, 6; 1791, Charles Webber, 4; 1792, Reuben Fairfield, 15; 1793, Ebenezer Farwell; 1795, Daniel McFadden, 2; 1797, Isaiah Crowell,9, John Getchell, 4; 1798, Samuel Redington, 3; 1801, Jonathan Carlton, 3; 1802, Berriah Packard; 1806, Abial Getchell, 12, Moses Starkey, 2, Nathaniel Percival; 1807, John Roberts; 1808, Philip Colby, 2, Joseph R.Abbott, 10; ]810, Isaac Roberts, 5; 1812, Francis M. Rollins, 3; 1814, John O. Webster; 1815, Jeremiah Webber, 2; 1817, Joseph Southwick, Ebenezer Meiggs, 2; 1818, Dean Bangs, jun.; 1819, Prince Hawes, Holman Johnson, 9; 1820, John Roberts, 6; 1821, John Hussey; 1824, Jacob Southwick, 2; 1826, Elijah Robinson, 5, William Percival, 7; 1828, Philip Leach; 1829, Amos Stickney, 10; 1833, Isaac Fairfield, 18, Moses Taber, 5; 1835, John G. Sturgis, 2; 1837, Otis C. Adams, 2, William Taber; 1838, Oliver Prescott, 4; 1840, Oliver Webber; 1841, Oliver A. Webber, 3; 1842, William A. Hawes, 2; 1843, Jonathan A. Smith, 2, Joseph H. Cole; 1844, Joseph E. Wing, David G. Robinson, 5; 1845, John Homans, 9; 1849, John Marble, 2; 1850, Hiram Pishon; 1851, John Goff Hall, 5; 1854, William Merrill, Warren Percival, 5, Howard G. Abbott; 1857, Jacob Prescott, 2, John R. Whitehouse, 10; 1859, Joseph B. Low, 6; 1862, Orrick Hawes, 7; 1864, Edward S. Weeks; 1865, William H. Gates. 7; 1868, J. E. Mills, 2; 1870, Joseph H. Allen, 5; 1871, Edward W. Bush, 4; 1872, Henry H. Robbins,4; 1875, Warren Percival, 2; Isaiah Gilford, 6; 1876, George Howell; 1877, Benjamin McDonald, Howard Wentworth, 2; 1878, George Reynolds, 3; 1880, Ezekiel Small; 1881, Greenlief Lowe, 6, Benjamin J. Rackliff, Albert M. Bradley; 1882, B. C. Nichols, Hartwell Getchell; 1883, W. A. Evans, 2 years and continuously since 1887; 1884, Joel W. Taylor, 2; 1885, Peter Williams; 1886, Gustavus Hussey, 3; Alexander Hall since 1887; 1888, Harry T. Drummond, 3; 1892, Reuel C. Burgess.
The Town Clerks, each serving until his successor’s election, have been: John Rogers, who was elected in 1771; Samuel Devens, in 1775; Charles Webber, 1776; Dr. Stephen Barton, 1777; Jedediah Barton, 1781; Matthew Hastings. 1782; Stephen Barton, 1784; Flint Barton, 1787; Asa Redington, 1790; Jer. Fairfield, 1792; Jonathan Fairfield, 1799; Jonathan Carlton, 1802; Benjamin Brown, jun., 1803; TOWN OF VASSALBORO. 1099 Jonathan Fairfield, 1806; Joseph R. Abbott, 1809; Abial Getchell, 1817; Joseph R. Abbott, 1824; AmosStickney, 1830; Obed Durrell, 1838; James Rowe, 1846; William H. Gates, 1865; Edward W. Bush, 1873; E. Frank Lincoln, 1874; William S. Bradley, 1881; Orrick Hawes, appointed in 1883 to fill vacancy; William S. Bradley, 1884; A. S. Bradley made deputy January, 1887; Seth B. Richardson, since March, 1887.
The first Treasurer of the town was Charles Webber, in 1771, who also served in 1776. The succession of treasurers, with years of election follows: John Rogers, 1773; Samuel Devens, 1775; Dr. Stephen Barton, 1777; Benjamin Hobby, 1778; Captain Abial Lovejoy, 1780; Captain Samuel Grant, 1781; Ebenezer Farwell, 1782; Samuel Grant, 1783; Nehemiah Getchell, 1785; Flint Barton, 1790; Nehemiah Getchell, 1792; Jer. Fairfield, 1795; Samuel Redington, 1798; Reuben Fairfield, 1801; Jonathan Carlton, sen., 1802; Samuel Redington, 1803; Benjamin Brown, 1813; Samuel Redington, 1815; Joseph R. Abbott, 1819; Samuel Redington, 1821; Joseph Southwick, 1822; Philip Leach, 1828; Albert G. Brown, 1829; Elijah Robinson, 1830; John Collins, 1832; Thomas Carlton, 1833; Amos Stickney, 1834; Moses Purinton, 1835; William Percival, appointed November, 1836, to complete the year; Thomas Carlton, 1837; Amos Stickney, 1838; Obed Durrell, 1839; John Romans, 1846; Joseph H. Cole, 1850; James Rowe, 1851; Joseph H. Cole, 1854; William P. Whitehouse, 1855; James Rowe, 1856; Joseph H. Cole, 1857; William Merrill, 1859; William S. B. Runnells, 1863; William H. Gates, 1864; Warren Percival, 1866; Z. Butterfield, 1867; J. S. Butterfield, 1877; Charles F. Crowell, 1887; George H. Gates, since March, 1891.
Schools ” The first record of anything pertaining to this important element of civilization was made in annual meeting of March, 1790, when the town east of the river was divided into districts, and an earnest support of the public schools commenced. The nine districts of 1790 were located and numbered thus:
1. Beginning at the north line of said town on the river, extending southwardly as far as the north line of Jacob Taber, jun.’s, lot, including the first and second mile.
2. Beginning at north line of Jacob Taber, jun.’s, lot, thence southerly as far as the north line of Jonathan Low’s lot, including the first and second mile, likewise the third mile from the north line of the town southwardly as far as the south line of Jacob Taber’s lot.
3. Beginning at the last mentioned bounds, extending southwardly as far as the south line of John Williams’ lot, including 1st, 2d and 3d mile.
4. Beginning at John Williams’ .south line, extending southwardly as far as Jethro Gardner’s north line, including the 1st and 2d mile.
5. From Jethro Gardner’s north line to the south line of said town, including the 1st and 2d mile.
6. Beginning at the north line of said town, extending southwardly as far as David Dickey’s south line, including 4th and 5th mile.
7. From David Dickey’s south line extending southwardly as far the south line of Bunker Farwell’s lot, including the 4th and 5th mile.
8. From Bunker Farwell’s south line southerly as far as the line . between lots No. 7 and 8 on the 4th mile, including the 3d, 4th and 5th miles.
9. From the line between lots 7 and 8 on the 4th mile southwardly as far as the south line of said town, including the 3d, 4th and 5th mile.
The committee making the division into districts was composed of Reuben Fairfield, Charles Webber, Nehemiah Getchell, Daniel McFadden, Joseph Fellows and John Taber. Teachers were hired and the schools of the town commenced. Alterations were made in the bounds of districts as the convenience of the inhabitants demanded, and in 1795 another district was formed in the south part. This year a committee was chosen in open town meeting to obtain teachers for all districts and pay out the moneys according to the number of pupils in each. The school interests were closely watched, and in 1797 the number of schools was reduced to seven, and the $700 raised by the town was disbursed by the selectmen, who also engaged the teachers. In 1798 another division into districts was made, and a year later $1,000 was raised to build ten school houses. In 1809 districts nine and thirteen were joined, but were to continue two schools by female teachers, one of whom was to be selected by the Friends. In 1816 the seventeen schools were visited by a committee appointed by the town, which custom prevailed several years with beneficial results. The districts were again changed and rebounded in 1828, but not until 1839 was the division of the town made into the twenty-two districts which are now substantially the same. Some fifty years ago an academy was established at Getchell’s Corners and flourished a score of years as the Vassalboro Academy. The building was used for religious as well as secular instruction; but in 1868 it was sold to the Methodist society and remodelled into the present Methodist church. From a town committee to hire teachers and visit schools the town voted a proper person in each district to do the duties for his district. Later years a town superintendent has been elected, who visits and cares for the schools. Uniform text books of standard editions are now the property of the town, and a yearly appropriation for .such books is made. The districts number twenty-two, and the houses and schools are in good condition. The superintendent of 1890, F. A. Vinal, was succeeded in 1891 by Seth B. Richardson. The best school building in the town is at North Vassalboro. It was built about 1872, contains three departments, and a large public hall on the second floor. In 1873 an appropriation of $500 was made for a high school at East TOWN OF VASSALBORO. 1101 Vassalboro, but the continued success of Oak Grove vSeminary has superseded the necessity for the high school.
The manufacturing and mercantile enterprises of the town have so generally been known in connection with the post villages near which they have flourished that their history may well be grouped with those communities. There are six post hamlets in the town, known as Vassalboro, North Vassalboro, East Vassalboro, Riverside, Cross Hill and South Vassalboro, besides which are five prominent localities, known as Priest Hill, Taber Hill, Quaker Lane, Mudgett Hill and Seward’s Mills. Vassalboro.â€” The early coming and the business prominence of John Getchell, sen., gave the name of Getchell’s Corners, to the post hamlet now known as Vassalboro, sometimes called Vassalboro Corners. Of the settlers of this part of the town, John Getchell, with his several sons, was first. He purchased the lands where the stores stand, and his sons were scattered above and below, along the river road. Among the settlers who felled the huge forest trees at and near the corners were : Stephen Hanson, who was the first blacksmith of the hamlet and who settled where his son, Henry Hanson, resides; Abial Getchell, son of John, settled the next lot south, and made his first clearing and house where the widow Getchell resides, on the street opposite from Philip Hanson’s; John Getchell, jun., settled where Marshall F. Higgins resides, on the east bank of Southwick brook, just back of the residence of Isaiah Gifford; Joseph Robinson settled a portion of Isaiah Gifford’s farm, a short distance south of the Southwick brook, and Levi Robinson next south, where Augustus Rollins now resides; Samuel Redington, so prominent in the early growth of the town, settled the Stephen Freeman farm, and the next farm south was the first home of Thomas Carlton. John Getchell, sen., kept the first store here on the road east of the Yates mansion. The present corner store was built early in the century as a double store, Joseph R. Abbott selling goods in one and Daniel Marshall in the other. Samuel Foster succeeded Abbott, while Jacob Southwick and Prince Hopkins succeeded Marshall. Nichols & Prescott succeeded Southwick & Hopkins, and made the two stores into one, and were succeeded by Josiah and E. W. Prescott and Isaiah Gifford. D. Washburn & Son then kept the store until G. W. Ward became proprietor, who was joined later by his brother, Frank, in the firm of Ward Brothers, who were succeeded in 1892 by Orrett J. Hussey & Dodge. There is the evidence of a dam in the brook back of Isaiah Gifford’s residence and garden, tradition telling of an ancient pail factory there; also an ashery, both of which were the property of Jacob Southwick. The same man had a plaster mill lower down on the stream, on the east side of the river road. The large tannery at the mouth of this brook near the river, is well remembered by the older citizens. It was built about 1816 and stood near where an early saw mill of John Getchell had gone into decay. Prince Hopkins became partner with Mr. Southwick in the tannery as well as store, and the business was successfully run till Mr. Southwick’s death in 18^5. Thomas Frye had a small tannery near Philip Hanson’s barn, in the rear of the hotel, and Thomas or Ebenezer Frye had a tannery where George S. Smiley lives â€” the house being the old currier’s shop. John Dennett, or Swan & Dennett, had an ancient hat shop in a building that stood near Masonic Hall, and John Hawks had another hatter’s shop in a building that stood between Mrs Day’s present dwelling and George Smiley’s. There was a small building next south of the present post office building, in which Oliver Brackett made clocks. After a number of years Thomas Frye sold goods in the same building.
The Vassalboro post office was established April 1, 1796, with Jeremiah Fairfield as postmaster. His successors have been: Thomas Odiorne, October 1, 1798; Lathrop Chase, April 1, 181B; Abial Getchell, March 25, 1818; Philip Leach, January 14, 1826; Daniel Marshall, October 16, 1832; Thomas Frye, April 7, 1842; Goodloe H. Getchell, September 23, 1845; James W. Sylvester, March 2, 1852; Thomas Frye, March 15, 1852; Jonathan Snow, March 81, 1854; Hiram Pishon, February 25, 1863; Edward W. Bush, April 26, 1869; Mary A. Hanson, June 15, 1885, and Annie W. Gilbert, April 19, 1889. J.
The most important industry of the hamlet at present is a canning factory, built in 1882 by the Portland Canning Company. The canning of corn and apples is the special feature. The daily capacity is 30,000 cans, and an average of 25,000 cans are put up daily during the canning season. In 1890 over 6,000 one-gallon cans of apples were put up here. The early importance of the little village â€” then the first above Augusta â€” called for a hotel, and the first one in the town was established here. The present hotel, George Gibson, proprietor, was opened to the public as a tavern soon after the war of 1812 by Daniel Marshall, succeeded by John Hussey, Francis Day, John W. Thomas, Jonathan Snow, Charles Simpson, Roscoe Gilbert and the late Samuel Gibson. This hotel was of much central interest during the stage days, when daily lines between Augusta and Bangor â€” both ways â€” made their halt and change of horses here. Tradition tells us of an inn kept by Mr. Leonard in the old house opposite from Henry Hanson’s, and which was burned in 1830. This was probably the house in which John Getchell had the first store of the place. Years ago the boot and shoe industry was prominent here. About 1835 Franklin D. Dunham began the manufacture of boots in a building that stood in front of his present dwelling, and which was burned some years after; he removed his business to the building that now stands next south of the post office, where he continued till 1879 or 1880, a period of forty-five years. He employed sometimes one hundred hands in his manufactory. He turned the business into the manufacture of brogans prior to and during the civil war. Joseph Estes had a shoe factory in the building now Grange Hall, where fifty hands were employed. He carried on business while the Dunham factory was running. Caleb Nichols opened a shoe factory over his store, which he ran for several years; and William Tarbell had a factory in a building that stood on the green next north of the Congregational chapel, and which is now doing service elsewhere as a stable. These factories, with the large amount of other business, induced the Southwicks to organize and operate a bank here, called Negeumkeag bank. The capital was $50,000, and the state reports of January 1, 1829, showed its bills in circulation to be $50,615. It was wound up about 1840. Dr. Edward Southwick was the president and Amos Stickney cashier. Its location was in the building now the residence of Mrs. Day, and after its close the queer old strap, wrought iron .safe was removed to Burnham, Me., where the Southwicks owned a large tannery. Less than thirty years ago there was a steam saw mill, built as a water mill first, on the river .shore on what was then the Lang farm, now Hall C. Burleigh’s. John D. Lang erected the mill for cutting the logs of the farm, but after a few years it was abandoned.
After the removal of Vassalboro Lodge, No. 54, to North Vassalboro a second Lodge of Free Masons was established at Getchell’s Corners January 25, 1872, under a dispensation, with Warren Colby as master. The charter was granted and the first meeting under it was June 20, 1872, with William Tarbell, W. M. The masters have been: Caleb F. Graves, George W. Reynolds, Arioch Wentworth, Daniel Rollins, Charles A. Stillson, Charles W. Jones, William S. Dutton and Charles L. Gifford. Daniel Rollins has been the secretary since 1881. Negeumkeag Lodge, No. 166, as it is designated, owns its hall and numbers forty-six members. December 21, 1889, Kennebec Lodge, No. 121, 1. 0. 0. F., commenced work in Masonic Hall with five charter members, and now has thirty- one. The noble grands have been: H. M. Coleman, Jabez Dunn, and E. S. Colbath from January, 1891. Oak Grove Grange, No. 167, P. of H., which was instituted at North Vassalboro May 11, 1875, was removed to this village a few years ago. The masters have been: George Taylor, M. B. F. Carter, M. G. Hussey, E. B. Merrill, Gustavus Hussey (to fill vacancy), and E. H. Cook in 1881. In April, 1883, a reorganization was made, and O. W. Jones was elected presiding officer; he was succeeded by Charles W. Jones, Gustavus Hussey, Nathan F. Hall, Seth B. Richardson, Everard L. Priest, Merton A. Robbins and F. C. Drummond. The society meet in their hall a few rods south of the Congregational chapel, where the Grange opened a store November, 1889, of which Isaiah Gifford is manager. As the outgrowth of a strong temperance feeling a Lodge of Good Templars is sustained, meeting at Grange Hall.
Of the several post villages within the limits of the town. North Vassalboro is the most important. The large woolen mills located here are the principal factors to the business of the village. In the broad valley through which the outlet of China lake hastens to join the waters of the Sebasticook this beautiful village nestles among the noble elms that line its streets. It was early an important point for settlement, and here the indomitable John Getchell had a square mile of land, which did not long after furnish game for the Indians. He had come from Cape Cod, and with his brother, Dennison Getchell, became the chief man in the north part of the town. The coming of Dr. Edward South wick from Danvers, Mass., to North Vassalboro, was an important event. He purchased of John Getchell the water privilege here, and within the first two decades of this century had established here what was, in 1820, the largest tannery in New England. This he successfully managed while his brother, Jacob, had another at Getchell’s Corners. Later, Doctor Southwick secured the assistance of Prince Hopkins, and seems to have planned to control the tanning business of the state, and did it to a remarkable degree for that day. His business was the life of North Vassalboro. West of Jonathan Nowell’s house he had more than an acre covered with sheds for his tan bark, which he bought from the surrounding towns. While Friend Southwick was at the zenith of his transitory prosperity John D. Lang, from Providence, R. I. â€” a man, probably, worth $100,000 â€” came to the town. His brothers-in-law, Alton Pope and Peter Morrill Stackpole, had a wool carding and cloth dressing mill on the dam here, and Friend Lang furnished some needed capital, and Lang, Stackpole & Pope began the woolen manufacture, which has, from that day to this, been the chief industrial pursuit here. Their woolen mill was in successful operation in 1836, on the dam. About 1850 John D. Lang bought the tannery property, and in 1851 the brick woolen mill was erected. A brick kiln was built, and after the brick were burned the walls of the mill were built around it. Samples of cassimere from this mill took the first prize â€” a gold medal â€” at the World’s Fair, London, 1851. After the erection of the brick mill the old mill on the dam was moved a few rods to the street, where it has since done duty as a dry house and later as a boarding house. It is now a dwelling and a hall. Soon after the brick mill was erected Boston parties took shares, and the North Vassalboro Woolen Manufacturing Company was organized before 1856. Mr. Lang was president and his son, Thomas, was agent. In 1861 the company erected the new mill, 47 by 200 feet, making the plant, as it still is, the largest woolen mill in New England. These two mills â€” practically oneâ€” are on the site of the old tannery. The last of the tannery buildings were burned after the 1851 part was built. vSince the beginning of the brick mills Lang and Pope were the only Vassalboro people owning shares in it, and it is now owned wholly by Boston people. Several residents here have been prominent in the operation of the mills. Albert Cook, Joseph White, Warren A. Evans, Dennis Coughlin, William Reddick and J. C. Evans have been successively superintendents. Jonathan Nowell has been boss of the dyeing works forty years, and John C. Mullen for twenty-eight years has had charge of the wool sorting, succeeding his father, Richard. Ebenezer Gould was boss carder thirty years. J. C. Evans, the present super- intendent, was boss weaver when promoted in August, 1890, and his brother-in-law, Mark R. Shorey, who began as apprentice in 1868, has been boss weaver since. Levi Webber was for thirty-nine years master mechanic for the mills. Just above the old tannery site, easterly and adjoining the street, is a factory where boxes and cases for shipping goods are made for the mills, and operated by the same management, with the waste water from the dam. On this site stood the old grist mill, and adjoining it was a small woolen mill owned by John D. Lang. These were destroyed by fire. Across the stream from the grist mill stood the old North Vassalboro saw mill. This was owned by John D. Lang, Peter Morrill Stackpole and Alton Pope when it was burned in 1848. They immediately began rebuilding, and while raising the frame Mr. Stackpole was killed, November 12, 1848. This new mill which Lang & Pope completed, was destroyed by fire in 1862.
A house of entertainment was needed in the place when the influx of strangers was so great, and Prince Hopkins erected the building now occupied by William Murray as a hotel, and there a Mr. Wilson kept an inn, succeeded by Prince Hopkins until November, 1866, when he sold to the present proprietor.
Twenty-two postmasters, beginning with Joses Southwick, March 22, 1828, have been commissioned for North Vassalboro. Elijah Robinson and Joseph Southwick preceded John C. Taber, who was appointed March 22, 1837. He served six years. His successors have been: George Pillsbury, jun., January 14, 1843; Henry Weeks, May 1, 1844; Howard C. Keith, May 17, 1848; Henry Weeks, June 8, 1849; Charles A. Priest, July 1, 1853; Thomas Stackpole, February 10, â€¢ 1855; Seth Nickerson, March 11, 1856; Thomas Stackpole, August 21, 1856; Edward S. Stackpole, March 10, 1857; Henry C. Wing, September 22, 1S59; Timothy Rowell, July 2, 1861; James A. Varney, February 1, 1868; George H. Ramsell, December 5, 1877; Josiah P. Burgess, June 15, 1885; William Murray, October 1, 1887; Charles E. Crowell, April 12, 1889, and Samuel S. Lightbody, December 26, 1890. The first store here that tradition mentions was one by John C. Taber prior to 1831, in what is now called the Daguerrean building. The next was the tannery store, known as the ” old yellow store,” on the present woolen mill property, in the grove. Prior to about 1850 this was the only store here, the tannery owners having operated it until it passed into the hands of the woolen mill people. Thomas Snell was running this store in 1837. Hiram Simpson ran it during the war. The old building â€” more brown than yellow with the lapse of years â€” is now on the opposite side of the street, occupied as a millinery store. Howard G. Abbott kept a store from 1849 to 1888, in a building since burned, opposite the Burgess store. The store of R. C. Burgess on the corner was built by Levi Gardner in 1859. In this store the same year Benjamin McDonald and Orrick Hawes were partners with Mr. Gardner a short time, then sold to him. In 1866 R. C. and his brother, H. R. Burgess, nephews and clerks of Mr. Gardner, became partners with him. This relation continued eleven years, when these brothers became sole proprietors under the firm name of Burgess Brothers until the death of H. R. Burgess in March, 1886, since when R. C. Burgess has continued the business. In 1877, after the sale to his nephews, Mr. Gardner opened a grocery store in the company building on the other corner east. I. P. Burgess, his clerk, succeeded in this store at the death of Mr. Gardner in 1880, and closed the business out in a short time. Since then the store has only been used for short periods until in 1890, when J. E. Bessey opened a grocery business, which he continues. Henry A. Priest was in a general trade for years where John Dougherty is. Mr. Dougherty began business in 1882, in the corner store where Michael Herbert’s daughter has a variety store. He succeeded John M. Cook, who had kept a shoe store there several years. Mr. Doughei’ty removed to his present place in December, 1890. Benjamin Homans in 1860 built the corner store where W. E. Hall is. Homans kept it a time and sold to Wellington & Crowell, who were succeeded by Mr. Hall in 1891. A little building in rear of and south of the store of Mr. Bessey was in use as a store for twenty years by Mrs. Western, and was closed at her death m the spring of 1891. The first exclusively hardware business was opened in 1880 by George S. Hawes, on the south side of the street opposite the mill grove. The drug trade of the place has been in the hands of Samuel S. Lightbody since the fall of 1888, when he succeeded Freeman A. Libby. Earlier than 1870 J. Roberts was the druggist and was succeeded by Frederick H. Wilson. Charles Nowell, whose father, Jonathan, owns the building, was the village druggist before Mr. Libby. Hiram Simpson built, in 1862, the store his son, Albert, now runs.
In March, 1870, Vassalboro Lodge, No. 54, F. &. A. M., which had met at Getchell’s Corners since June, 1827, changed its place of meeting to North Vassalboro by a vote of forty-five to eighteen. Holman Johnson was the first master and Daniel Marshall the next, under whose administration the members ceased to regularly meet during the Morgan excitement. In the ‘forties the Lodge work declined with the interest of the members, and the charter was lost, but in 1853 Abial Getchell and others petitioned for and received a copy of the original charter and resumed work in June. William Redington was elected master, the missing charter was found, and the Lodge in July, 1857, joined with Samuel Gibson in the erection of a building of which the second floor was to be Masonic Hall, and which was dedicated February 23, 1858. This hall is the Masonic Hall now in use at Getachell’s Corners, by the fraternity there. In 1870 a suitable hall was secured at North Vassalboro, in which stated communications are held. The successive masters prior to the removal were: E. Small, John Homans, Joseph E. Wing, William Tarbell, A. M. Bragg, Charles Blanchard and Peter Williams. Since the removal to North Vassalboro the masters have been: B. J. Rackliff, W. A. Evans, J. C. Evans in 1880 and again in 1890; Henry Ewer, E. C. Coombs, R. C. Burgess and F. A. Libby. The Good Templars, organized in 1866 in this village, still retain their charter but have done little or no work since 1887, when an order of the Sons of Temperance, now numbering fifty, was organized with thirty-two members. The worthy patriarchs have been: Samuel Lee, Dr. Charles Mabray and Samuel McWellyn. Kennebec Lodge, A. O. U. W., No. 22, was here organized February 4, 1884, with fourteen charter members, and now numbers forty-one. The master workmen have been: R. C. Burgess, F. A. Vinal, S. S. Lightbodyand Daniel Clark. Charles E. Crowell has been secretary since the organization.
The location of this pretty post village is suggested by its name. The outlet of China lake furnishes here a valuable water power, and around the nucleus of the mills and manufactories upon it, the village has gradually grown, surrounded by a good farming country. The proprietors understood the value of this stream as the outlet of so large a body of water, and probably were instrumental in the erection of the first saw mill here, a few rods below the village bridge, before this portion of their territory was settled. This saw mill, or its successor, was subsequently owned by John Getchell, and in it was cut material for the settlers’ first houses, and immense quantities to raft down the Kennebec. Moses Breed had some relation to the business of this old mill. The site of this mill is a historic spot where, after the mill had served its day, Moses Dow built a tannery; here, grinding the bark by horse power, he became a thrifty tanner and added hat making to his business. A water-wheel succeeded the old horse at the grinding, and Franklin Dow succeeded his father, Moses, as the owner. Tanning became profitable and steam power superseded the water-wheel, and after its destruction by fire the plant was rebuilt by Franklin Dow before his death in 1848. That year Caleb Nichols and William H. Gates purchased the business. James C. Pierce became a partner with Mr. Gates in 1854 and they continued until 1873, tanning some 1,500 hides per annum. Above the village bridge is the reservoir dam controlling the supply of water for the mills below. On the east end of the dam John Mower once had a bark mill, while his father, Nathan, had a tannery on the place where John now resides. On the hill to the eastward Thomas Sewall also had a tannery. Across the stream fi’om the bark mill stood Thomas Greenlow’s shop, with its four forges and trip- hammers run by water. After John Getchell’s time, a saw mill appears on a site below the original one. This was owned by Jacob Butterfield, then by his son, Henry R. The North Vassalboro Woolen Gompany purchased it, and in 1890 it passed through S. Williams, of Boston, to Warren Seward, who had leased it since 1866. The grist mill here was erected before 1810. Its lower story, of stone, was built by Jabez Dow. The early owners were some retired ship captains â€” Gaptains Alley, Macy, Jerry Growell and others. Zachariah Butterfield was the miller several years from 1812. Still further down the outlet, but within East Vassalboro, is another grist mill. Northwest of Seward’s saw mill stood the old-time carding mill, three stories high. In 1816, after Jeremiah Hacker had owned it, Thomas Pinkham was engaged here in cloth dressing and wool carding. The building was enlarged, and, after John Gollins, Jesse Dorman made satinet here with six looms. The North Vassalboro Woolen Gompany bought the mill before it was torn down in 1870. Zachariah Butterfield, the old miller, had a potash works near the mill, which he ran, and up stream by the lake his son, Zachariah, and Peter Rollins had two other asheries. On the site of one, in 1876, Jeremiah S. and Andrew G. Butterfield, by transforming their brother’s old ashery, established their present steam saw mill, adding a planer, shingle and lath machines. Tradition says of some of the old residences, that Moses Dow, in 1798, built the house now owned by Benjamin Bryant; the house now occupied by Richard Bennett was built in 1801 by Amos Stiles; William Getchell built the house opposite the Revere House on the corner â€” known now as the Bradley House â€” and here kept an early Store. South of this a house, burned nearly a score of years ago, was built in 1801 by Nathan Breed. The house opposite the last was built in 1827 by Francis M. Rollins, who in 1804 had built the house now occupied by William H. Gates. Doctor Moody the same year built the house opposite. Nathan Mower came here in 1799 to attend the store of Nathan Breed, on the corner now occupied by the Revere House. Webster & Colby kept a store on the corner opposite the Revere House in 1802. Captain William’s house was erected by William Getchell in 1803, and Isaac Hussey settled where Charles E. Collins lives. This point was a fitting place for the inn keeper, and prior to 1814 John Brackett built one of the best frame buildings then in the town and opened an inn, which was popular for many years. It stood north of David M. Wyer’s present residence on land he now owns. Prior to 1824 John Soule kept tavern in the house that stood where the Re- vere House is. In 1828 Jacob Butterfield added to the size and changed the shape of the Getchell store and he there ran an inn till about 1848; then John O. Page succeeded him. In 1858 Albert M. Bradley erected the Revere House, which has been the hotel since.
The government established the East Vassalboro post office March 26, 1827, with Amos Stickney in charge. After one year John Col- lins was appointed, and he was succeeded in January, 1841, by John Hatch, and six months later by Jacob Butterfield. Since then Addison Stinchfield was appointed April 11, 1845: Jeremiah S. Butterfield, October 7, 1847; Benjamin F. Homans, April 27, 1854; Joseph Bowman, May 27. 1854; Benjamin F. Homans, September 27. 1855; Jeremiah S. Butterfield, April 22, 1861; Charles W. Mower, December 7, 1885; and in April, 1889, Levi C. Barker. The store of the village is now kept by George H. Gates. The principal branch is on the northeast of the four corners of the village. The building was erected about 1824 by David Hamlen; it was sold to Zachariah Butterfield, jun., in 1845, who fitted it for and opened it as a store. He sold to Isaac Robinson, he to William H. and Charles B. Gates, they to Mark L. Simington, he to W. S. B. Runnells and James E. Gates, they to Webster Lewis and George H. Gates. Then William H. Gates purchased the interest of Lewis and the firm name was George H. Gates & Go. Now George H. Gates is sole proprietor and owns also the store where the post office is. This post office corner was burned May 6, 1848, and, after several temporary buildings on the site, was rebuilt in its present shape in 1867, by Zachariah Butterfield. William A. and Augustus Taber opened a store in what was called the Union store, now the residence of E. W. Bragg. They sold to Pope & Sibley, who also bought out Z. Butterfield, jun., where the post office now is, and continued a few years, removing into the old Methodist church building to close out their stock by bankrupt sale. Early in the century John Greenlowe, then living where John Murphy does, obtained letters patent on iron plows, which he manufactured in the shop on the reservoir dam. David Doe made patterns for Greenlowe and succeeded to the business. Mr. Greenlowe is well remembered by the citizens of East Vassalboro, not only from the revolution in the merit of the plow, but from the fact that he set out the most of the trees that so beautifully shade the streets of the village. North of Butterfield’s steam mill is an enclosure called the Baptist burying ground; but not a headstone nor mound gives an outward indication of the fact. Adjacent to this burial place stood the ancient Baptist church, which was sold for $43 to Ezekiel Small in 1832, and was allowed to decay. The burial ground was neglected and its use discontinued after the removal of the church edifice, except that the portion next to the mill has been used by the colored people. In the absence of headstones the grand old elms stand sentinel over the sleepers. For several years prior to 1860 a Union Store Company â€” some thirty or forty persons â€” did a large share of the general trade. William Taber and his brother bought the business, and about 1865 sold it to George H. Pope and his brother-in-law, E. R. Sibley.
This poetical name applies to the southwest portion of the town, embracing one of the prettiest farming districts of the county. In allusion to Benjamin Brown, the first postmaster and a prominent citizen, the community and post office was long known as Brown’s Corners. The early settlers on the river front lots from the Augusta line to Isaiah Hawes’ present residence were: William Brown, Jeremiah and William Farwell, Charles Webber (who came in 1765 and whose daughter, Sarah, was the first white child born in town), Benjamin Brown, Jacob Faught, Thaddeus and William Snell, Mr. Fallonsbee, James, Jonathan and Heman Sturgis and their father, Edward, from Barnstable, Mass., about 1780; James Thatcher, from Cape Cod, and Isaiah Hawes, also from the Cape. These people lived on the river road and from south to north in substantially this order, beginning with William Brown on lot 51 of the first range, where Wallace Weeks now lives. I. S. Weeks now owns part of the Farwell place, where stands the old house erected by Captain Eben Farwell, son of the pioneer. In the little cemetery opposite lie nearly all the Farwells.
Benjamin Brown kept the tavern in the old house now occupied by D. C. Ellis, north of Grange Hall, and at the river landing below he, with a Mr. Gardner, built several small vessels and acquired a very large estate, which he left for those who proved unable to preserve it. He was twenty-five years masterâ€” from January 18, 1817â€” in the little post office which in 1826 did a total business of $33.25. His successors were: Josiah B. Wentworth, appointed August 31, 1842; William Webber, April 8, 1848; George Shaw, March 31′, 1854; Eben Ayers, September 10, 1856. At this time the office was removed from Brown’s store â€” now Grange Hall â€” to its present location. July 17, 1862, George L. Randall was appointed, and in January, 1866, the name was changed to Riverside. The railway station near by takes the same name. N. H. Fassett was made postmaster in May, 1892. Seven-mile brook, in this section of the town, the outlet of Webber pond, has been from the first a useful water power. James T. Bowdoin built a grist mill west of the road, and in 1812 sold it to Joseph Stuart. Thomas Carlton was the next owner, succeeded by Hiram Lovejoy, who sold it in 1827 to Ephraim Jones, at which time wood carving was also done here. At this time, and for years before, this was the principal mill between Augustaand Waterville, it having three runs of stones, and often running day and night. Abiel P. Fallonsbee owned it for nine years after 1829, when George W. Hall purchased a one-fourth share, and Augusta parties secured the balance. Subsequently Thaddeus Snell purchased it. The stream now flows unhindered through its ruins. Down the stream was the old Sturgis grist mill, silent and dismantled long ago. Two paper mills have been operated on this stream. George Cox and Mr. Talpy built one near the mouth. It was burned in 1841, and on the site Bridge & Sturgis erected the present three-story machine shop, where sash, blinds and doors were made for a time, until they were succeeded by Charles Webber. After the fire Cox & Talpy went up the stream and purchased of James Robbins and others an old saw mill and converted it into a paper mill, the ruins of which remain. It was operated by George Tower and Daniel Stanwood until abandoned about 1870. This saw mill had been in use by James and George A. Robbins some dozen years or more. The mill was built by Benjamin Brown, Captain William Farwell and John Homans, the latter sawing here several years before it was sold to the Robbins brothers. The John Gardner tannery of 1830 was near this, and still further up the stream and near Webber pond was the Coleman saw mill, later known as the Foster mill. The saw mill now at the mouth of the brook was built by A. S. Bigelow and others about 1871, and in 1887 E. L. Baker purchased the controlling interest. It was the only mill on the stream in operation in 1892.
The following remarkable petition relating to this mill site was dated October 20, 1766: ” To the Honorable Committee of the Kennebec Company in Boston. The most of us are able to raise a great part of our bread and expect soon to raise it all, but we greatly need a grist mill, there being none nearer than Cobbossecontee, which costs us toti shillings a bushel. Grant us a grist mill on seven mile brook by building the same or granting the lot to some settlers or the inhabitants will build the mill themselves, if in your great wisdom and goodness be meet to grant us the Privilege. ‘ Signedâ€” Matthew Hastings, Moses Hastings, John Taylor, John Marsh, James Hill, Aaron Healy, James Bacon, Jonathan Dyer, David Spencer, Bennett Woods, John Stone, Beriar Door, Isaac Spencer, Richard Burke, Nat. Mary, John Huston, Moses Spencer, Noah Kidder, Denes Getchell, John Getchell, Nemier Getchell, James Hutchinson, Thomas Clark, Joseph Clark, Daniel Bragg, John Sympson, David Strandley, Josiah Butterfield, Samuel Getchell, Charles Brann, Lewis Fairbrother, Manuell Smith, Philip Foot, Frederick Foot, Antony Foot, Isaac Farewell, Bunker Farewell, Isaac Farewell, Jr., Ebenezer Farewell, Nathan Moor, Collins Moor, Uriah Clark, David Clark, David Hancock, James Clark, Samuel Bradock, Charles Webber. Joseph Carter, James Huston, Seth Greele, Ezekiel Pattee, John White, Charles Jackson, Moses Bickford, and Daniel Townsend.” The flourishing Grange, Cushnoc, No. 204, P. of H., was organized January 13, 1876, with thirty-nine charter members. Members of the society built in 1879 a hall at Riverside, called Liberty Hall, where they met and prospered; but it was burned to the ground in May, 1885. The loss was considerable, although an insurance of $1,500 was carried. In the autumn of 1885 the society purchased the old Benjamin Brown store, added to it, and fitted it for their use. In August, 1886, a store was started by the Grange, occupying the first floor, and of this store Oliver P. Robbins has the superintendency. The members number 115. The masters have been: George W. Reynolds, Clifford Church, Howard H. Snell, Oliver P. Robbins, J. R. Gardner, J. A. Eugley, Charles O. Robbins, O. H. Brown, E. C. Getchell, Ira J. Robbins and W. S. Weeks. Mrs. O. P. Robbins has been secretary since 1890. Between Vassalboro and Riverside is the little broom factory of Edgar S. Forrest. Beginning in 1870, this, until recently, was a regular business, employing from three to ten people; and from 1872 to 1876 â€” its palmiest daysâ€” produced 3,000 dozens yearly. Seward’s Mills and Cross Hill.â€” In the south part of the town, east and south of Webber pond, is a thrifty community, including Seward’s Mills and Cross Hill. Here is the stream connecting Three- mile and Webber ponds, and furnishing a water power which Giles Seward first used for mill purposes. Here was the center of a small business, including a store, saw mill, grist mill and mechanics’ shops. Here Orrison Warren’s blacksmith shop stands as the rearguard of the retreating column of industries. South of Seward’s Mills rises Cross Hill, with its substantial residences and fertile farms. About 1790 Isaac Robbins bought a farm here and married Rebecca Adams, a cousin of John Quincy Adams. He built west of the road and south of the cemetery a house, which later became, on another site, part of the present residence of Smith Robbins, his grandson. Robert Austin came in 1808, married Desire, daughter of William Wing, an early Methodist, and settled the farm where his grandson, Henry H. Austin, resides. Robert and his brother, Thomas Austin, came from New Hampshire. Jethro Gardner came from Nantucket about 1800, and settled where his great-grandson, Sheldon H. Gardner, now lives. In the first years of this century William Buswell, of East Kingston, N. H., came with his wife, and settled the farm where his grandson, George H. Bussell, now resides. His deed, dated March 9, 1811, was given by “William Smith, Yeoman, and Mehitable, his wife.’ Philip Leach, of Getchell’s Corner’s, drew the deed. Levi Smart and John Percival witnessed it, and John Getchell was the acknowledging justice. Nymphas Tobey, whose descendant occupies the place, owned the farm south of William Buswell. James Roberts erected a building in which his brother-in-law, Samuel Bailey, kept a store on the corner near the Methodist church. James Randall bought it and removed it to near his present residence, then sold it to Eldridge Austin. After continuing it as a country store for thirty years Mr. Austin in December, 1885, sold it to George S. Perkins, who removed it still further north, added to it, and occupies it now with a thrifty mercantile business â€” the only one here. Mr. Perkins’ father, William, came from New Hampshire about 1856. A post office at Mudgett’s Hill supplied this community at first; but May 3, 1860, Samuel F. Bailey was appointed to a new office, called Cross Hill. Eldridge Austin succeeded him in April, 1863, in the little store already mentioned. Mrs. Mary A. Randall, as postmistress or as deputy for Sheldon H. Gardner, has since had the care of the office. Seward’s Mills post office was established in October, 1853. Benjamin Wing was appointed on the sixth and was succeeded March 6, 1856, by James Rowe. The office was discontinued and Cross Hill supplied the community until May 3, 1881, when Charles S. Perkins was commissioned and a new office established as Seaward, Me. October 22, 1883, Elmer E. Randall took the office, and four years later was succeeded by Flavins J. Ames. The office was discontinued October 30, 1889. The Seward’s Mill store was erected in 1872 by Edward Whiting, who had sold goods there for a few years previous. Samuel Dearborn succeeded Whiting, and in 1880 sold to Perkins & Perley. Charles S. Perkins followed, until 1884, when he sold to E. E. Randall. South Vassalboro. â€” In the southeastern corner of the town, where the outlet of Three-mile pond enters Vassalboro, is a rural community including some good farms near the China and Augusta lines. North of the outlet is the C. F. Cobb stock farm, where the Hawes family were once large land owners, and in a little cemetery on 1114 HISTORY OF KENNEBEC COUNTY. the farm some of them were buried. North of this, on a gentle elevation, is the M. F. Davis farm â€” the Clark homestead â€” and A. W. Pinkham’s place; all good farms in a pleasant locality. South of the outlet, where Charles E. Pierce lives, is the birthplace of Judge William Penn Whitehouse, and within a handsome iron enclosure, near by, is a little marble slab marked John R. Whitehouse, where the judge’s father sleeps. The Whitehouse family were early settlers here. Daniel came from Berwick with three sons, Edmund, Daniel, jun., Thomas and two daughters, Hannah and Comfort. Edmund had three sons: John R., William and Edmund, jun., the latter being the father of E. W. Whitehouse, of Augusta. Daniel, jun., lived and died where Jonathan Stone now lives, at Mudgett Hill. He was the father of Seth C. Whitehouse, of Augusta. Benjamin Webber settled where Hiram P. Taylor lives. The Taylor family are descended from Samuel Taylor, whose four sons were Asa, Samuel, jun., Amasa and Charles. Amasa’s descendants are chiefly in the town of China. Southwest of the outlet, on a fertile elevation, a family settled from which that locality has since been designated as Mudgett Hill. Their house was on the farm where Albert G. Hawes resides. Thomas Clark came to Mudgett Hill about 1811, married Sarah Smart and raised eight children. Their only surviving son, Andrew H. Clark, occupies the farm, and the residence which was built in 1813. At the summit of Mudgett hill is the Lampson homestead. About 1824 Benjamin Hussey, whose father, Isaac, had lived and died in Freedom, Me., came to Vassalboro and settled on the farm now owned by Benjamin G. Hussey, his grandson. Here James Cross had built a house on a two-acre clearing which his father, Benjamin Cross, had made, when this locality was known as Mudgett Hill, and was connected with the settlement at Cross Hill by only a foot path. Here, in 1830, Jeremy M. Hussey was born and still resides. His wife is Mercy, daughter of Enoch Merrill, of Augusta. Their children are: Ella (Mrs. Hiram Pierce), of Windsor; Emma (Mrs. Frank Pierce), of Augusta; Ida (Mrs. Lott Jones); Orrett J., of Vassalboro; Benjamin G., Edgar A., bookkeeper with S. S. Brooks, of Augusta, and Ethel I. The accompanying illustration of the Hussey homestead shows the present substantial farm buildings in a view looking toward the northwest. A Baptist society here, under Rev. Mr. Trask, was once flourishing.
Pelatiah Pierce came to Mudgett Hill about 1820, married Hannah Whitehouse, and became the first postmaster here, February 2, 1827, keeping the office at the four corners south of the outlet. John Whitehouse next had the office, March 21, 1859 â€” then called South Vassalboro; John R. Whitehouse was commissioned October 11, 1851; John Whitehouse, December 15, 1882, and Eliza Whitehouse, June 28, 1886, and keeps the office at the corner near its original location. Early Settlers. â€” In referring to the landmarks in the preceding locality histories we have already noticed a large number of the pioneers of Vassalboro, and stated with more or less precision the sites of their homes. The list of those who held the chief official stations in the early days of the town supplies additional names of early settlers, and at the same time indicates that they were leading men in public affairs. The location of other settlers not noticed in the villages, and more at large, along in the first range will be recognized. Ebenezer Hall settled lot 73, first range â€” now occupied by his grandson, Alexander Hall. South of Mr. Hall was Barnabas Hedge, of Cape Cod, an early settler. He had two sons â€” Jonathan and Scotto. The latter settled where Henry M. Sawtelle lives, and Jonathan was where E. Lincoln Brown lives, on the east side of the road. South of the Hedges, Nathaniel Lovejoy made his settlement, and south of him were Isaiah Crowell and Aaron Gaslin. North of Ebenezer Hall were Edward Hoyt and Thomas Carlton. The Greenlief Low farm, north of Getchell’s Corners, was settled by a man named Blanchard, from whom Mr. Low’s grandfather purchased. Next north the lot was settled by Remington Hobby, who was very prominent in civil affairs in the first days of the incorporation of the town. The seminary is located on a portion of the Hobby purchase. Hall C. Burleigh’s farm was settled by Jacob Taber and was subsequently owned by John and Elijah Pope, who married two of Friend Taber’s daughters. The northern part of the town was settled after Getchell’s Corners, John Getchell himself owning the land where North Vassalboro now stands. Jonas Priest was the first to cut his way from the river to Priest hill, and there started his homestead where his grandson, Theodore W. Priest, now resides. He came from Groton , Mass., in 1775 and in 1792 received a grant of two hundred acres from the proprietors. His first hut was on the stream which flows through the homestead farm which he obtained under such conditions as are noticed at page 77. James Johnson soon settled west of Priest, where Miss Johnson now resides. Enoch Palmer settled where Mrs. Handy, his daughter, lives. South, up the outlet, Joseph Brann settled, and a man named Lord settled the place where Hutton lives. William Brann, brother to Joseph, settled where Jefferson Plummer resides. Between North Vassalboro and the river, where Charles Robbins resides, Paul Taber made his settlement in the woods; and across the road, where Thomas H. Starkey lives, was the first settlement of Moses Sleeper. William Weeks pitched his tent where Parker C. Gifford lives, and Peltiah Varney settled where Albert Cook lives, up the lane. Where Gideon Hobby settled now belongs to the Daniel Ayer estate, and near here Tobias Varney lived. The highway extending over the hill northeasterly from the town house was early known as Quaker lane, in allusion to the numerous families of Friends who made the earliest settlements upon it. Ebenezer Pope, whose brothers, John and Elijah, have already been mentioned, built a house in 1806, where his son, Elijah Pope, now lives. He owned also the present James Pope farm, next north. One of Ebenezer’s sisters married John Cook, and they settled the Frank H. Lewis farm, still further north. Another sister married John Cartland, a Friend minister, and they settled between Ebenezer Pope’s and John Cook’s.
South of Ebenezer Pope’s was the early settlement of the old Goddard family. The reader should already understand how generally the first settlers of this town came here from Cape Cod; but about 1827 several whale captains of Nantucket packed their household goods and came with their families to Vassalboro, settling along the eastern side of the town. Among them were: Reuben Weeks, David Wyer, Shubael Cottle, John G. Fitch, Shubael Hussey, Henry Cottle, Joseph Barney, James Alley, Seth and Daniel Coffin, and Captain Albert Clark. Between the north village and Priest hill Colonel John Dearborn settled. His house was west of George Nowell’s farm, while east of him and north of Mr. Priest, Peter Pray had an early home, where George Taggart lives. South of Priest’s Abner Taylor settled, where some of his descendants reside. We have noticed the early coming and usefulness of John Getchell. Undoubtedly he was with the first, and certainly, was the leading spirit among them. He was a successful hunter â€” skilled in forest lore â€” and went a few miles up the valley with Arnold, in the fall of 1775, which small investment of fact has yielded a handsome return of fiction in the hands of sensational and superficial writers. Churches. â€” The First Baptist Church of Vassalboro was organized at East Vassalboro June 3, 1788, and until 1801 had a good degree of prosperity. A second church was organized at Cross Hill in 1808, with thirty-seven members. Rev. Coker Marble was pastor, but the church probably held no church property. In 1811 twenty members were added to the First church, but from 1813 to 1824 the church became nearly extinct, having in 1820 only forty-three members. The first meeting house, on Elm street. East Vassalboro, which was sold about 1832 to Ezeziel Small for $43, stood north of the old grave yard and south of the outlet landing. The site is now John Warren Butterfield’s garden.
In 1825 a revival took place and twenty members were added, probably under the pastorate of Rev. Jesse Martin, who remained with the church until May, 1829, and for a few years the church was supplied part of the time with preaching by different ones. October 12, 1839, the two churches met and voted to unite and build a meeting house near Seward’s Mills, which house is now standing. Thirty-three members from the Second church joined the First, making in all about seventy members. The new meeting house was dedicated October 22, 1840, and in it was had preaching for a while by Revs. Ellis and Henry Kendall, followed in 1841 by Rev. E. W. Cressy, who served the church over two years with good results, the church numbering then about 156 members. In 1845 Rev. T. J. Swett was called as pastor, and left in 1847, after very serious difficulties with the church, which were settled after many disputes. In 1874 the meeting house underwent repairs, inside and out, at the expense of $600 to the several pew owners, under the supervision of John Richardson, J. C. P’erley, Deacons Thomas Clark and S. L. Marden. The following ministers have supplied the pulpit since 1845: S. Fogg, Enos Trask, H. Chipman, F. Merriam, Fred Bicknell, R. Bowler, E. S. Dore, M. J. Kelly, S. K. Smith, L. B. Gurney, Frederick A. Vinal and W. P. Palmer. The North Vassalboro Baptist Society was organized November, 1870, and an edifice erected during the years 1872-3. The pastors have been: Reverends John Dore, Nathaniel Butler, Samuel Bell, L. P. Gurney, F. A. Vinal and W. P. Palmer. Congregationalism was established in Vassalboro soon after 1820, through the efforts of the Maine Missionary Society. In 1816 a house of worship was erected near the center of the river front of Vassalboro, on the west side of the river road. In 1818 Thomas Adams, who was appointed by the missionary society, organized the church July 23, and in August was ordained and settled as the pastor. He labored here many years, and buried his wife in the first grave made in the cemetery south of the church. Deacons Thatcher, Prince Hawes and Fallonsbee were among the active officers. The society waned, and the citizens not members of the Congregational society assisted in repairing the building, which was known thereafter as the Union church. The parsonage, which stood north of the church, is now the residence of Wallace W. Gilbert, but since 1889 the old church has done duty, on another site, as the barn of Henry M. Sawtelle. During the decadence of the old Congregational society, and two years after the retirement of Rev. Thomas Adams, the Congregational element at Riverside erected there, in 1836, another edifice, which was consumed by fire February 12, 1885. The edifice now in use at Riverside was erected in 1887 on the same site. During a few years this society gave the use of the church to other societies, and the Methodists held preaching services there until the settlement of Rev. Fred Chutter in 1880, when the Congregationalists again occupied it. Rev. Henry Harding became pastor in 1883. He was succeeded by Rev. David E. French from 1884 to 1888. Rev. James E. Aikens was pastor until the spring of 1891, when Rev. ^Ir. Woodrowe assumed the pastorate for the summer. Reverend Adams returned to the town in 1SG6 and labored for four years where in 1829 he had organized the first temperance society. When the grandchildren of the old Congregationalists who had listened to the revered old pastor were building the pretty little church at Vassalboro they signified their affection for father Adams by naming it Adams’ Memorial Chapel. Regular services are held here by the pastors who fill the pulpit at Riverside. This younger society has the communion service which Rev. Mr. Adams used during his first pastorate in the town.
There are four Methodist churches in the town. Their records are very deficient in their early histories, but from conference reports and tradition of aged members something has been gleaned. It seems from a pastoral record of ministers that prior to the organization of the East Maine Conference in 1848, ministers were appointed to travel in Maine as missionaries, and every town of Kennebec county was early more or less blessed by the pioneer Jesse Lee, succeeded by other earnest men for four decades; but no ministers were stationed in this town until about 1850. Sullivan Bray was pastor at East Vassalboro in 1852, and his charge embraced the society at North Vassalboro; Otis F. Jenkins was in the same field in 1855, succeeding Cyrus Phenix, who was pastor through 1853 and 1854. Daniel Clark was at the same post in 1856, and moved to North Vassalboro in 1857. The next pastor for these charges was Benjamin B. Byrne, settled at the North for 1863. Leonard H. Bean was appointed to East Vassalbora for 1864 and 1866. The society at North Vassalboro used the Union church until 1875, when they secured an unfinished church building in Winslow, and removing it, made their present Methodist church. From the erection of the East Vassalboro church the pastors werei William J. Clifford, 1875; Daniel vSmith, 1877; Josiah Bean, 1878; John R. Clifford, 1879; E. H. Tunnicliff, 1881. After the formation of another Congregational society the Methodists again had settled pastors. William Wood was pastor in 1886; E. H. Hadlock, 1887, until autumn, when W. Wiggin came to fill the year; W. F. Prince in 1888. In 1890 the North Vassalboro and Getchell’s Corners societies were joined, W. J. Kelley, pastor, and the East Vassalboro was joined with China. The Getchell’s Corners society purchased and repaired the old academy building in 1868, which they had occupied for several years before the transformation. The East Vassalboro Methodists erected their first edifice near the cemetery. It was removed to the site of the present church, where it stood some years before it was again moved and converted into a store. The Methodists in the southern portion of the town organized classes at Riverside, South Vassalboro and Cross Hill, and about 1813 erected the church now standing at Cross Hill. Among the active Methodists of that period were John Roberts, William and John Percival. Robert Austin, David Hawes, Isaac Robbins, John Stevens, Richard Turner and Hartwell Gardner. Tradition names among the early ministers Elder Benjamin Jones, Albert Church in 1839, Charles Munger, Daniel Fuller in 1842, Barnett M. Mitchell, Ephraim Bryant and George Pratt. Cyrus Phenix succeeded Sullivan Bray in 1858, and began the only church records extant.* These records, showing baptisms and marriages by some of the pastors, furnish incidentally the only and, no doubt, imperfect list of pastors. It appears that Cyrus Phenix remained three years, succeeded by Lewis Wentworth in 1857; Jesse Harriman, 1858; S. Freeman Chase, 1860; F. A. Soule, 1861; James Hartford, 1868; Ephraim Bryant, 1864; Levi L. Shaw and Eliot B. Fletcher, 1865; Ephraim Bryant, 1870; Theodore Hill, 1871; Charles E. Springer and E. B. Fletcher, 1872; Abram Plummer, 1873; Samuel Bickmore, 1875; William J. Clifford, 1876; Charles H. Bray, son of Sullivan, 1877; Wilbur F. Chase, 1880. The marriage records name three other officiating clergymen: L. B. Gates, 1859; M. W. Newbert, 1861; and Thomas Pentacost. In May, 1860, records of dismissals begin, showing that within a year twenty-two members were transferred from this church to Weeks’ Mills, in China. The Catholic church of North Vassalboro is a mission church supplied from Waterville, and Father Charland has for several years filled the pulpit. A very neat edifice for worship was erected in 1871. A Union church was erected at North Vassalboro in May, 1851, at an expense of $800. Beriah Weeks, Timothy Rowell and Levi Webber were the building committee. It was then the only church edifice there. In 1880, having been several years closed, it was sold for the benefit of the chief contributors, and is now four tenements. One other place and kind of worship will not be forgotten so long as the links of tradition can touch each other â€” the church and teachings of Charles Webber, who resided on the river road near Riverside, in the house now occupied by Wallace W. Gilbert. Across the road, on what is known as the James S. Emery place, Mr. Webber erected a small edifice in the last few years of the last century. Here he had preaching of his own, and constituted himself the pastor. What was more conspicuous in this arrangement was the fact that said Webber could not read, and depended upon his wife for that important attribute. He could readily grasp the scripture reading of his wife and give wholesome explanation thereon; and only once was his knowledge clouded, when his wife read “log” for “lodge” in the wilderness. His manner of announcing a text was: ” If Polly tells me aright you will find my text, etc.” He urged sinners to repent, often saying that it was as impossible for one to enter heaven as it was for a shad to climb a tree. His eccentricities and goodness survive him, as does the old church, which, on another site, is the residence of Freeman Sturgis.
There are several public burial places in the town East Vassalboro has two — one, the Friends’, near their meeting house, is ancient in use and appearance; the other is near the Methodist church, and contains several beautiful, costly monuments. Jabez Lewis rests here, having died in 1843, aged 68 years. David Hamlen’s monument tells of his death in 1862, aged 73 years. Among other inscriptions are: Stephen Homan, 1846, aged 82 years; Nathaniel Robbins, 1841, aged 61; and John Fairfield, 1847, aged 75. At Riverside is a well-kept cemetery, managed by an incorporation of citizens. On the west side of the river road, where the old Congregational church stood, is an old town burying ground north of the present residence of Daniel Rollins. The Friends have a large burial place in rear of their church, near the seminary, and this society has considerably used the burying ground called the Nichols Cemetery, on the farm owned by John Clifford, on the road to North Vassalboro. Caleb Nichols opened these grounds many years ago. At North Vassalboro is a large cemetery, to which lots are being added by the owner of adjoining land. Much care is bestowed upon the lots and graves here by the living, and there are some fine monuments. Here, among other aged residents, rest Enoch Plummer, born 1794, died 1885; Amos Childs, born 1760, died 1847; and Joseph H. Brann, died 1867, aged 85 years. A neglected spot for burial at North Vassalboro is the Bragg ground, in the rear of S. S. Lightbody’s drug store. It is upon a corner of a triangular piece of land which is said to have been the unsold portion of the square-mile of land owned by John Getchell. The visitor will find here in the reeds the headstone of Joab Bragg, a revolutionary patriot, who died April 9, 1832, aged 75 years.
The Priest burying ground contains some of the oldest graves in
the northeastern part of the town. Many plain field stones, without
inscriptions, seem to have strayed from the surrounding wall to mark
the resting places of the early pioneers; and the lilac, the first flower
of those early days, planted here by loving hands, now grows untrimmed above them. The oldest dated headstone is to Martha Priest,
who died 1812, aged 83. Jonas Priest died 1831, aged 87; Jonas, jun.,
TOWN OF VASSALBORO. 1121
died 1856, aged 85; Elisha Burgess died 1886, aged 72, and Mary A.
Burgess in 1875, aged 52; John Dearborn, jun., died 1880, aged 82.
The Cross Hill Cemetery, as originally laid out, contained but one-fourth of an acre. Here, in 1849, was buried William Cross, aged 79
years; and in 1853 Zebedee Cross, aged 48 years. These two slabs
are the only authentic record in the community of the prominent old
family, now extinct here, which gave name to the locality. Among
the first burials in this ground was Mary Coleman Dyer, in 1813, aged
27 years. Other headstones here tell of Joel Gardner, who died in
1875, aged 97 years; John Palmer, in 1834, aged 84; Samuel Randall,
1838, aged 81; John Gaslin, in 1857, aged 90, and Mary, his wife, in
1837, aged 68; Seth Richardson, 1856, aged 78; Owen Coleman, 1834,
aged 74; Daniel and wife Martha Whitehouse, 1835 and 1837, aged
respectively 80 and 92; Benjamin Runnells, 1834, aged 68; his wife,
Rebecca, 1833, at the age of 67; Gideon Wing, 1842, aged 65; and Dr.
Oliver Prescott, 1853, aged 62.
South of this was an early burying ground where scores of the
pioneers found resting places. This ground was within what was
later known as the Warren Percival farm, and for twenty-five years
now the graves have been obliterated, and only a cultivated field
marks the spot.
There are private grounds upon many of the early settled lots,
which are still used by the successors of the patriarch whose dust is
venerated. Some private cemeteries are upon lands now out of the
family; but the grounds are generally inviolate. Standing at the railroad station, Riverside, and looking south you see Mt. Tom, as the
hill is denominated, on whose apex a hundred years ago was an old
building which tradition claims was a missionary post. At the south
of this hill, on the Sturgis farm, sloping to the brook, was an Indian
burial ground, where bones and Indian relics are plentiful.
Oscar A. Abbott, son of William and grandson of George Abbott,
was born in Winslow in 1848. His mother, Harriet, was a daughter
of George and granddaughter of Major Ebenezer Nowell. Mr. Abbott was fifteen years in the employ of the Maine Central, including
eight years as agent at Brunswick, prior to 1887, when he purchased,
on Taber hill, a handsome farm, where the ancestors of the Taber
family settled. Mrs. Abbott is Rose B. Toothaker, of Brunswick,
Me. They have one daughter. Ruby.
The Austin family of this town are descended from Robert Austin, who, with his brother Thomas, came from New Hampshire. Robert settled at Cross Hill, married Desiar Wing, daughter of William
Wing, an early Methodist there, and raised five sons: Gideon, Jonathan, William, Robert, jun., and Eldridge, of whom the second only survives. Henry H. Austin, born 1839, the only surviving son of Gideon (1810-1889) and Lucinda (Pinkham) Austin, and grandson of Robert Austin, married Emeline R. Jones, of Vermont. They have four children: Carrie (Mrs. Flavins J. Ames), William A., and twins, Albert H. and Herbert S. He follows his father, Gideon, at the homestead. Cross Hill, where Robert, in 1808, made the first clearing.
William Alvah Austin, son of William and grandson of Robert, was born in 1846, married Helen F. Clark, and has three children: Ada L. (Mrs. Arthur H. Rice), Willis G. and Frank H. William Alvah enlisted September 10, 1862, in Company D, 21st Maine, reenlisted as a veteran in Company G, 2d Maine Cavalry, December 5, 1863, and was honorably discharged June 28, 1865. He has the best manuscript record of the Vassalboro soldiers which exists in the town.
Henry D. B. Ayer, born in 1857, married Susan E. Clark, of Vassalboro. Her father, Emery, was a son of Jonathan and grandson of
Jonathan Clark. Their children are Russell G. and Elton B. Mr.
Ayer was three years supervisor of schools prior to 1877, and has
taught for fifteen years. He is secretary of the board of health.
Edward C. Ballard, born 1849, is the son of John and grandson of
Rufus Ballard. John Ballard purchased of Elisha Gifford the place
which his father, Joseph Gifford, had settled, and where Edward C.
Ballard now resides. Rufus was the son of Jonathan Ballard, who, in
1775, came from Oxford, Mass., to Vassalboro, where he was killed by
a falling tree in 1778. Ephraim Ballard, the surveyor, who came to
Winslow in 1775, and subsequently lived at Augusta, was a brother of
Caleb Barrows came to Vassalboro from Camden, Me., in the spring
of 1880, and purchased the farm now owned by his oldest child, Hanson
G. Barrows, on the pond road. His other children were: Mary A. (Mrs.
J. C. Chadbourn), deceased; Alonzo M., deceased; Julia D., who died
in infancy, and Edwin C. Caleb’s father, Peter Barrows (1755-1841),
who was in the revolutionary war seven years, was the son of Ichabod
Barrows (1724-1783), and grandson of Beniah Barrows, who lived at
Rehoboth, Mass., in 1707, where his oldest son, John, was born.
Edwin C. Barrows, born in 1842, the youngest of the five children
of Caleb Barrows, was educated at Waterville and Bowdoin Colleges,
and in 1863 enlisted, November 19th, in Company B, 2d Maine Cavalry. In June, 1865, he was transferred to the 86th U. S. C. T., with
commission of second lieutenant, but acted as adjutant of the regiment until his discharge, April 10, 1866. In September following he
entered the Albany Law School, graduated in June, 1867, was admitted
to the bar, and located in Nebraska City. Practicing there until 1871,
he returned to Vassalboro in 1872, with his wife, Laura Alden. He
was supervisor of schools in 1882, 1888, and has since been selectman excepting one year, being chairman since 1887. In 1883 he was elected representative.
Dea. Gideon Barton, a son of Dea. Gideon (1786-1878), and a grandson of Dr. Stephen Barton, was born in Windsor in 1818. He was one of a family of thirteen children, and as he tells it, they wore out two log houses in Windsor. When he was nineteen years old he took his “white bundle ” and with a few venturesome ” green Kennebecers,” started for the Penobscot, where he worked ten years. He then hauled lumber for several years, and was foreman for several years for Ira D. Sturgis and the Kennebec Land and LumlDer Company. In 1885 he bought and located on one of the good farms of North Vassalboro, where he still lives. His wife, Harriet E., is a daughter of William Percival, of Cape Cod. Their children are:
Russell S., a farmer, on the old homestead in Windsor; Isabel, in Boston; Alice (Mrs. R. S. Hamilton); Evelyn (Mrs. C. vS. Farnham), Hobart, in California; Hattie (Mrs. Charles E. Crowell); Carrie (Mrs. James Cavanaugh), and Edith Barton.
John S. Briggs, born in 1848, is the son of George U., and grandson of William Briggs, of Augusta. He married Lizzie J., daughter
of Ira and granddaughter of Levi .Smart, and has three children: Ora
L., Delmont S. and Gladys Lefa. Mr. Briggs’ farm at Cross Hill was
formerly occupied by Aaron White. Levi Smart was born in 1780, in
New Hampshire, and came to Monmouth, Me., with his father, Robert, who settled on Smart’s hill, on the stage road between Winthrop
and Lewiston, whence Levi removed to Vassalboro, where he died in
Josiah Brown, born 1829, was the son of George, and grandson of
John Brown, who lived and died east of Cross Hill. George Brown
married Hannah Clark; Josiah Brown married Mary A. C, daughter
of George and Rebecca (Stimpson) Shaw, who in 1853 came from
Gouldsboro to Vassalboro, where he died in 1880. Josiah Brown’s
residence, formerly owned by George Tower, was erected by Jerry
Horn and rebuilt by Albert Brown.
The Burgess family of Vassalboro are descended from Benjamin and Rebecca (Parker) Burgess, who probably came to Vassalboro about 1760, although in the Burgess genealogy [E. Burgess, Dedham, 1865], the birth of their oldest child, Eliza, is noticed as in Vassalboro in 1756. They subsequently lived in China, where David,
the fifth of their seven children, was born in 1769, and where he lived
and died. David’s son, Moody C. Burgess (1810-1887), married a sister of Levi Gardner. Their son, born 1840, is Reuel C. Burgess, of North Vassalboro. I. P. Burgess, of North Vassalboro, born in 1850, is a son of Isaiah, born in China in 1802, and grandson of David.
John Bush, born in Danvers, Mass., in 1826, came in 1831 to Vasalsalboro with his father, Dr. John Bush, and in 1861, after working at
his trade in other places, located as a tailor at North Vassalboro,
where he built his present shop in I860. Some farming, with what
remains of the tailoring business, constitutes his employment. He
married Harriet M. Noyes, of Bangor, and raised four children. J.
Frank is at Lisbon Falls; Lizzie married William Dinsmore, a shoe
dealer of Waterville, and George S. is employed in the mills at Shoddy
Hollow. -The oldest child, Lillian W., who resides with her father, is
Mrs. Henry F. Rice, and has six children: May and Maud, Gracie,
Leslie, Lulu and Evelina.
The Bussell Family.
Early in the present century, William
Buswell (as the name was then spelled) and Ploomy, his wife, came
to Vassalboro from East Kingston, N. H., and settled on Cross Hill.
He bought a farm, deeded to him March 9, 1811, by ” William Smith,
Yeoman, and Mehitable, his wife.” William and Ploomy raised seven
children: Betsey L., Ploomy D., John, William, jun., Mary A., Abegail and Celia. All but Betsey died with consumption.
John, the last survivor, whose portrait appears herewith, was born
October 8, 1816, on the old homestead, where he spent the whole of
his life, and where he died, November 27, 1883. He had an active
mind, was well informed and possessed a substantial education. He
economized all his time and talents, farming summers and teaching
school winters â€” his services in the latter calling being in active
demand for years. June 4, 1846, he was married to Mary J., daughter
of Ambrose White, whose father, John White, was an old resident of
Winthrop, Me. They had four children: George H., John E., Mary
A. and Nellie M. The coincidence of the sudden termination of the
lives of two of these children was striking and sad. John E. fell
dead in the field, October 31, 1878, and Mary A. dropped dead in the
road while on her way to church, March 6, 1881. Nellie M. holds a
responsible position as bookkeeper in Nashua, N. H.
With the exception of teaching school winters, Mr. Bussell was
always a farmer. He loved and followed it with great industry and
good judgment, and by it made and saved a handsome competence.
His son, George H. Bussell, was born on the place settled by his grandfather over eighty years ago, where his father spent the whole of his
life and where his mother is still spared to him, remarkably bright
and vigorous at the age of seventy-two. Like his father he has been
a school teacher. Three terms at Oak Grove Seminary and a full course at Dirigo Business College in Augusta, from which he graduated in 1875, constituted his preparation for teaching, in addition to the advantages of a district school. At the age of twenty he taught, in Whitefield, Lincoln county, Me., his first term, and his last term
was in Montville, Waldo county. Me., in the winter of 1879-80.
TOWN OF VASSALBORO. 1125
In Harlem Lodge, No. 39, A. O. U. W., at South China, he holds
the responsible office of financier. He is also a member of Cushnoc
Grange, No. 204, P. of H., and of Lake View Lodge of Good Templars. He belongs to the First Baptist church of A’assalboro, and has
always been a republican in politics. He married in March, 1886,
Marietta C. Page, of China, Me. Their children are John H. and
The White family are descendants of Peregrin White, who was
born on board the Mayflower, the first child born of English parents
after the Pilgrims reached the coast of New England.
Andrew C. Butterfield, born in 1825, a son of Zachariah and
Jemima (Shaw) Butterfield, and grandson of John Butterfield, a Scotchman who came to GofEstown, N. H., married Zylphia Bryant, and has
two children: Fred Z. and Lizzie. Zachariah Butterfield and his wife,
only daughter of Jacob and MoUie Shaw, of Albion, came to East
Vassalboro about 1810, and he ‘tended the grist mill at East Vassalboro for John Getchell, who built the mill, also the saw mill.
Jeremiah S. Butterfield, born in 1825, married Eliza F., daughter
of Beriah Weeks, of North Vassalboro, and has three sons: George,
Elmer and Harry. He was postmaster at East Vassalboro for forty-two years, and with his twin brother, Andrew C, made shovel handles for Jacob Butterfield and his son, Henry R. Butterfield, and afterward at Freedom, Waterville and Farmington.
William H. Gates, born in December, 1823, is one of the five children
of Edmund and Anna Gates, who came to East Vassalboro from Gorham, Me. The others are: Dr. Charles B. Gates and Mary A., deceased;
Eliza P. (Mrs. James C. Pierce) and James E. Gates. William H. married Etta S., daughter of John Mower. Their children are: George H., Abbie W., William Willis, in Idaho; John M., Arnold R., deceased,
and Fred L., of Waterville. Mr. Gates has been selectman seven
years, town clerk seven years, and was representative in 1862.
Andrew Home Clark, born in 1821, is a son of Thomas Clark and
grandson of William Clark. He married Saloma Robinson, of Sidney,
and has two children: Adella (Mrs. Horatio G. Dickey), of Boston, and
James S. Clark. Mrs. Dickey has one son, Ralph C. Dickey.
James S. Clark, a substantial young farmer, was born in 1856. His
father, Andrew H. Clark, was the son of Thomas H. Clark, formerly
of South Vassalboro. Mrs. James S. Clark is Carrie, daughter of
Daniel S. Lampson, of Windsor. They have two children: Maude B.
and Scott Lee. The farm, which has one of the finest barns in town,
is east of Riverside.
Chandler F. Cobb, born in Leeds, Me., July 17, 1845, is a son of
Ebenezer, and grandson of Joseph Cobb. His wife, Mary E. Gordon,
born in Leeds, July 6, 1852, is a daughter of William C. Gordon.
Their children, excepting the youngest, were born in Leeds â€” Bertha
1126 HISTORY OF KENNEBEC COUNTY.
S., April 11, 1874; Mary L, July 20, 1875; Blanche G., February 28,
1877; Arthur L., September 6, 1878; Lorania F., February 16, 1880;
Clarence C, born in Vassalboro, March 18, 1889. Mr. Cobb was
deputy sheriff in Androscoggin county, from July, 1873, to January,
1887; and was constable and collector three years.
Charles E. Collins, born in 1834, is a son of John, who was the eldest of the fifteen children of Benjamin and Rebecca (Fairfield) Collins.
Benjamin was a soldier in the revolutionary war, and later came to
East Vassalboro, where he taught school and ‘tended grist mills.
Charles E. married Ruth H., a daughter of Franklin Dunbar, of Winslow. He served as non-commissioned officer in Company D, 21st
Maine, from September, 1862, to April, 1863. His home was bought
by John Collins in 1831, of Paul Hussey, whose father, Isaac, settled
Albert Cook, son of Elijah and grandson of John and Mary (Pope)
Cook, married Eliza F., daughter of Briggs Thomas, and their children
are: Ella (Mrs. Charles W. Waldron) and Annabell. Albert Cook’s
farm was purchased by Elijah Cook & Sons in 1857. It was settled by
Peltiah Varney, a Quaker, whose son, Remington Varney, succeeded
Edward H. Cook, brother of Albert, born in 1844, married Annie
L. Hamblin, a daughter of Captain Zenas Hamblin, of Falmouth,
Mass. Their four children are: Edward C, Hattie H., Edith M. and
Annie E. Mr. Cook was graduated from Haverford College in 1868,
and from 1869 to 1878 was principal of Oak Grove Seminary. He was
also supervisor of schools in Vassalboro one year. John M. Cook, of
A^assalboro, born 1834; Elijah, jun., 1832, and George D., 1841, are also
brothers of Albert.
Marcellus F. Davis, born in 1835, is a son of Columbus and Chloe
(Abbott) Davis, and grandson of William Davis, who died in Jackson,
Me. In 1853 Columbus and his family came to South Vassalboro,
where he bought the Joseph Wing farm. Marcellus married Ella S.
Pullen, of Anson, Me., and has one son, Omar P. Davis.
J. C. Evans, born in 1850, a son of Cyrenus K. Evans, late of
China, married Nancy A., daughter of Daniel Priest. Their children
are: Blanche and Maude Evans.
Robert Gardner, a son of William (1774-1855), and grandson of
Jethro Gardner, was born in 1813. He married Melintha, daughter of
Lemuel Stevens, of Hartford, Me., and lived in the house built by his
father about 1816. His two sons were Edward E. and Albert M., of
Boston. Robert Gardner, his wife, and their son, Edward E., died in
Sheldon H. Gardner, a farmer at Cross Hill, born in 1848, is a son
of Jethro and grandson of William, whose father, Jethro Gardner,
came early from Nantucket to Cross Hill, and built the house where
TOWN OF VASSALBORO. 1127
Sheldon H. now lives. He was in California in 1863-4; in Montana,
Isaiah Gifford was born in the eastern part of Albion, in 1831. His
father, William (1802-1874), a farmer and blacksmith, married in 1827
Rachel, daughter of Micajah Meader. William’s father, Isaiah, also
a blacksmith at Vassalboro and later at ” Quaker Hill ” in Albion,
married Hannah Hussey, of Albion. The family â€” always Quakers
until the present generation â€” came to Maine from Sandwich, Mass.
Mr. Gifford learned the tanner’s and currier’s trade and worked at it
for Pishon & Ayer at Vassalboro until 1854; then went with them to
their new tannery at East Benton. In 1858 he bought a half interest
in the Vassalboro tannery, where he had learned his trade, and operated it three years. As merchant, selectman, representative and
deputy sheriff he is probably as widely known as any present resident
of Vassalboro. His wife, Cynthia W. Turner, deceased, left two children: Herbert C, born 1857, and Bertha E. (1863-1885). His present wife, Hattie, is a daughter of Franklin Blackwell, whose parents came to Winslow from Sandwich, Mass. Herbert C. Gifford married Hattie
Whiting, and has one son, Clinton B., born in 1892.
Alexander Hall, born in 1820, is a son of John Goff, and grandson
of Ebenezer Hall, who came to Vassalboro in 1808 from New Castle,
Me., and bought seventy-three acres of land of Asa Webber, which is
included in Mr. Hall’s present farm. Mr. Hall, always a democrat in
politics, has been selectman since March, 1887. His wife, Mary E.,
daughter of George Cox, died, leaving one son, William A. Hall.
Lsaiah Hawes, born in 1827, is the only son in a family of twelve
children of Isaiah and Desire (Collins) Hawes. Isaiah, sen. (1777-
1852), was the son of Eben Hawes, of Yarmouth, Mass., and came to
Vassalboro in 1809. His brother. Prince Hawes, father of Rev.’ Josiah
T. Hawes, of Litchfield, came from Yarmouth, Cape Cod, in 1802. The
present Isaiah Hawes married Lucy T. Hatch and has five children:
Edwin A., Delia C, William I. (now in California), Harry P. and Alice
M. Their residence was built by Dea. James Thacher, on the farm
where the original Charles Webber first settled.
Sumner Hunt, who came to Vassalboro in 1888 and purchased the
Moses Taber place, was born in Thorndike, Me., in 1829, where lived
his father Ichabod (1790-1883). His grandfather was Ichabod Hunt,
of Gorham, Me., and his great-grandfather was William Hunt, of England. Mr. Hunt is largely interested in the nursery business, having
nurseries in the towns of Benton, Winslow, Pittsfield, Unity and Freedom. On his farm is the building â€” then the house â€” in which General
Arnold was entertained in 1775, while his soldiers were repairing the
broken bateaux on the Sidney shore.
Orrett J. Hussey, born in 1861, is a son of Jeremy Hussey. He married Mabel, a daughter of Melvin C. and Roxanna (Merrill) Appleton, and granddaughter of Joseph Appleton, who was born in Vermont in 1780, and came from Belgrade to Vassalboro about 1815, settling on O. J. Hussey’s present farm. They have three children: Harold O., Anna May and Lenora M. The general view in the accompanying plate is. from the elevation northwest of the buildings and overlooking Webber pond and the hills to the eastward. In the left background may be seen also the roofs of the
town farm buildings. Mr. Hussey has been engaged in pressing and shipping hay for several years and in the fall of 1892 purchased with his cousin, S. E. Dodge, the mercantile business of the Ward Brothers at Vassalboro.
Charles H. Jepson, of North Vassalboro, one of the proprietors of
the shoddy inills at South Winslow, was born in China, Me., in 1833,
and four years later came with his Quaker father, Jedediah Jepson, to
Vassalboro, where he subsequently learned the carding business in
the old woolen mill, where he began work in 1844. In 1871 he went
to Lisbon Falls, and for eight years was overseer of the card rooms
of the Worumbo Mills. He married Lucy Clark, of China. Their
only daughter, Emma E., is Mrs. Samuel S. Lightbody.
Stephen Lawton, born in 1821, married Mary R. Seward, daughter of John and granddaughter of Giles Seward, of Seward’s Mills,
and has one daughter â€” Lizzie E. Mrs. Lawton ‘s onlybrother is John
Seward, of Wheatland, Cal. Mr. Lawton is the son of Jonathan, who
was born in Dartmouth, Mass., and in 1813, while on his way to Readfield with goods to pay for a farm, was captured with the vessel by
British privateers; he was put into a boat with his wife and two children and made his way up the Kennebec, settling in Windsor, where
he became a public man, and where Stephen was born.
Alfred Lee, a dairy farmer, born in 1827, came to Vassalboro with
his father, John (born in Phippsburg), from Edgecomb. He is the
only survivor of a family of seven children, six of whom came with
the parents in 1837. His grandfather, John Lee, came when a lad to
Phippsburg with his father, from England. Mrs. Alfred Lee is Nancy
J. Goodwin, a daughter of Major Benjamin Goodwin, of Dresden.
Their children are: Ada M. (Mrs. Rev. R. M. Peacock); George A.,
who married Immogene Estes, and at his death left one child, Marion
P. Lee; Belle I. (Mrs. C. C. Langley) Clarence, Carrie C. (deceased),
and Herbert H. (deceased).
Frank H. Lewis, born in 1840, is a son of Captain William Lewis
and grandson of Jabez Lewis, of Yarmouth, Mass. The captain went
to sea at fourteen years of age, was master at twenty-two. was in Texas
during the Mexican war, and about 1860 retired to the farm where
his son, Frank H., now lives. The residence was built about 1808 by
John Cook, the settler. Frank H. Lewis was a carpenter and builder
some twenty y^ars prior to 1881, when he succeeded his father on the homestead farm. His wife is Jennie Ives. They have .six children: William W., Frank H.,jun., Charles A., Edna C.Linwood P. and Jesse.
Greenleif Low, born in 1817, is a son of Stephen and Anna (Stackpole) Low, and grandson of Captain Jonathan Low. He married Ann R., daughter of the late Asa Smiley, of Sidney, and has two sons: Asa S. and George G. Captain Jonathan Low came from Marshfield, Mass., and about 1783 married Blanchard, whose father had settled south of Remington Hobby’s place. Greenlief has been six years first selectman, and several years school supervisor.
William E. Lowell, son of William, jun., and Jemima (Maxim)
Lowell, of Wayne, and grandson of William Lowell, of Bath, was
born at North Monmouth in 1825. His grandfather, William, removed
from Bath, in 1812, to Winthrop, where he lived and died. William
E., after forty years’ residence in Augusta, where he wrought as a
stone-cutter, came in 1885 to Vassalboro, purchasing the farm where
Benjamin Farnham first settled. He was married in 1854, to Mary
H. Cogswell. She died in 1881, and in 1885 he was married to Abbie
R. Leighton, of Augusta. His three children are: Hannah (Mrs.
Charles Bailey), Frank L. and Mary (Mrs. Ellsworth Dow).
Charles J. Marden, who was born in Bangor in 1847, and died
in Vassalboro in 1888, was a soldier in Company F, 14th Maine,
from February 22, to August 28, 1865. His widow, Sarah H., is a
daughter of Harrison and granddaughter of Abner Taylor, from
Cape Cod, who made an early settlement at Priest hill, where Mrs.
Marden was born. Her present brick residence, in the central part
of Vassalboro, was built by the Button family. Mr. Marden left two
daughters: Rose B. and Olive S.
Alvin Marshall, a son of Daniel Marshall, was born in 1808 and
died in 1868. He married Sarah J., daughter of Thomas Sherburne,
of Readfield. They had six daughters, three of whom are living:
Mary E. (Mrs. Nathan Hall, of Waterville), Blanche R. and Alvinna
E. (Mrs. Herbert H. Butterfield). Mr. Marshall was a farmer and very
active in church work as a Methodist class leader.
Alonzo Moores, a son of James and Olive, and grandson of David Moores, was born in Pittston in 1817. His father’s father came from New Bedford to Pittston. His mother was a daughter of Ansel Taylor, of Yarmouth, Mass. His wife is Sarah N. Chadbourne, of North Berwick, Me. Their children are: Lewis M. (a clerk in a government department at Washington), Hannah L., Augusta S., J. Aubert, Nellie
M. and William H.
William Murray, the hotel man at North Vassalboro, is a native of Montville, Me. His father, Jonathan Murray, who raised eleven children, was a house carpenter â€” a man of great physical force, an ardent Baptist and Bible student. He was born in 1771 and died instantly
at the age of ninety-five. William Murray has been trial justice
1130 HISTORY OF KENNEBEC COUNTY.
since January 7, 1880, and held the postmastership at North Vassalboro under President Cleveland. He married Sarah J. McLaughlin,
of Freedom, and has two^’children â€” Charles E. and Emma B.
Charles C. Nash, house-carpenter and farmer, who was born in
Sidney in 1816, came to Vassalboro in 1847, and now owns on the
river road a part of the place where Nathaniel Doe first settled. He
married Julia A., daughter of Nathan Taylor, of Winslow. Their
adopted daughter, Nettie H., who graduated at Oak Grove Seminary
in 1878, is Mrs. Ora A. Meader.
T. B. Nichols. â€” A widely respected citizen, and a prominent and
influential member of the Society of Friends was Thomas B., son of
Stephen Nichols, of Vassalboro. He was born on his father’s farm in
East Vassalboro, in January, 1813. He received a sound education,
and taught school at intervals for several years in different parts of
Maine and Massachusetts. When a young man, he went to Lynn,
Mass., where he met and married, in 1841, Rachel B., daughter of
David Holder, of Bolton, Mass. The year previous to his marriage
he purchased the farm adjoining his father’s, and built the house in
which he lived until his death.
His only son, David H., born in 1842, was a promising young man who graduated from Haverford College in 1865, and the same year entered Harvard University, but who, a few weeks after his matriculation, was cut off by a brief fever, in the flower of his young manhood.
Ruthanna H., the only daughter of Thomas B. and Rachel B. Nichols, married in 1889, John Franklin Washburn, of Worcester, Mass., the only child of John N. Washburn, of China. They, with his daughters, Alice W. and Nettie G., now occupy the old homestead with her mother.
Thomas B. Nichols began mercantile life in 1843 as a dealer in country produce, making eggs a specialty. His business flourished, and he employed a number of men and teams in collecting the produce which he bought and shipped to Boston, Providence and other New England markets. He was distinguished as an honest, upright man in all his dealings, punctual to his promises, just in the payment of his debts, and always unselfishly considerate of others in his business transactions. He shone more in private than in public life, however, and was more widely known as a consistent Christian character than as a merchant. He was a pillar of strength in the Society of Friends, and his widow, who survives him, still carries on the good
work he began. Their home meeting was at East Vassalboro in the building shown in the illustration at page 276; and for forty years he
was a minister and earnest, devoted gospel worker, both within and
without his own church. Though a very humble man, he had the
courage of his convictions. He traveled much in New England as a
TOWN OF VASSALBORO. 1131
minister, visiting not only his own people, but penal institutions and
the sick and afflicted in all places. In 1866, accompanied by his wife,
he traveled in gospel work in New York, Ohio and Indiana; and in
1868 they labored in Maryland and North Carolina. He also traveled
in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island, accompanied by Hartwell A.
Jenkins, of China. He was an earnest Sabbath school worker from
early life, having organized and conducted, in 1844, the first Sabbath
school in this vicinity, at the Hobbie school house in Winslow. He
was also a frequent contributor to the papers of his own denomination
as long as his failing strength permitted. The last years of his life
were passed quietly about home. The months of invalidism, in which
health and disease alternated, were calmly spent, with no anxiety for
the future, knowing that the Lord whom he had served with a zeal
according to knowledge ” doeth all things well.” He entered into
rest December 30, 1889.
His wife, Rachel B. Holder, who still survives him, was born of
Quaker parents, and is a direct descendant from Christopher Holder.
During all her life in this county, she has lifted willing hands and an
earnest voice to promote the best interests of humanity, holding im-
portant positions in the church, and for many years has been an ac-
knowledged minister of the vSociety of Friends.
George Nowell, born in 1818, is a son of George (1777-1868), and
grandson of Major Ebenezer Nowell, who lost an arm in the revolutionary war, and is buried at Berwick, Me. George Nowell, sen., married Winifred Parker in 1800, and in 1806 came to Vassalboro. He later moved to Winslow, where he was a farmer, and where he died.
Of his family of ten children but four survive: George and Jonathan,
and two daughters. George married Mary J., a daughter of Francis
Wyman, in 1849, and settled the same year where he now lives, on
the farm settled by Peter Pray. He was constable and collector many
years, and also served as selectman. Jonathan Nowell, born in 1820,
married Mary J. Wilson, of Topsham, Me., and has one daughter, Lizzie, now Mrs. George Homans.
William H. Pearson, born in 1813, is a son of Captain William
Pearson, who came from New Hampshire to Waterville in 1816. The
captain’s father was Major Edmund Pearson, of Exeter, N. H. After
a business career at Waterville, William H. came to Vassalboro in
1861. His wife, Hannah P., is a daughter of Edmund Pearson, jun.
Their children are: Ella S., Henrietta M., Mary E. (Mrs. George L.
Bailey), William C. and James H. Pearson. Mr. Pearson has served
the public in various minor offices and is a well known contributor to
J. Frank Perkins, born in Dresden in 1847, is the only son of Edwin (born in 1815) and Helen (Meservey) Perkins, and grandson of Zebediah Perkins, of Dresden. Edwin came to Vassalboro in 1860, settling east of Homan Corner, where he was a farmer, and where he
died in 1882. One of his four daughters (all dead), Clara, married
Artemas S. Atherton, and at her death left two sons, D. Frank and
William Perkins, son of Daniel, and grandson of Jonathan Perkins,
was born at Strafford, N. H., and married Sarah, daughter of Dea.
James Johnson, of South Berwick, Me. In 1856 they came to Vassalboro, where William’s two sonsâ€” Charles S. and George S.â€” reside. Charles S. Perkins was born in 1856, married Laura, sister of Seth B. Richardson, and has one daughter, Grace.
John C. Perley, born in 1821, is a son of Israel Perley, of Winthrop,
who settled at Seward’s Mills in 1830. Israel was born in Roxbury,
Mass., where his father, Amos, and grandfather, Francis, lived. Francis was the grandson of Thomas Perley, the first of the family in America. Mrs. John C. Perley was Eunice Meiggs. Their children are: Charles I., Anna M. (Mrs. Dana B. Marden), Carrie (deceased), and
Alice M. (Mrs. Elmer Randall). Charles I. married Clara Richardson
and has four children: Edith C, George A., Fred B. and Anson M.
Charles E. Pierce, son of Benjamin, grandson of George, and great-
grandson of Pelatiah Pierce, was born in 1859. He married Minnie
Warren, daughter of Ambrose, and granddaughter of Jared Warren,
and has one son, Benjamin S. Pierce. His farm is the birthplace of
James C. Pierce, born in 1819, is a son of Luther (1784-1861), and
grandson of Samuel Pierce, who came from Dedham to Augusta and
later, in 1801, removed to Windsor. Mrs. Pierce is a daughter of Edmund Gates. They have one child, Annie May (Mrs. Henry A. Priest). Mr. Pierce was engaged in a lumber business, and from 1854 to 1873 was in the tannery with William H. Gates, Vassalboro.
The Pope family here descended from Ebenezer Pope (1780-1834),
son of Elijah Pope, a blacksmith, of Windham, Me. Ebenezer married Sarah Chase, of Unity, in 1804, settled in Vassalboro, and raised
seven children: Hezekiah, James, Bethiah (Mrs. Benjamin Goddard),
Hephzibeth (Mrs. Jacob Taber), Phebe (Mrs. Jeremiah Jones, of China),
Esther B. (Mrs. George Taber) and Elijah Pope. Of these, James,
born May 17, 1808, married first, Phebe, daughter of Adam Wing, of
Sidney, and second. Content, daughter of Josiah Winslow, of Westbrook, Me. She left one son, Edward W. Pope, who married Edith M., daughter of Clarkson Jones, of China, and has one son, Frederick
J. Elijah Pope, born 1825, married Susan Maddocks (deceased). Her
children are: Albert H., Etta and Frank T. Elijah’s second wife,
Kate M., daughter of Hallett Crowell, has one son, Ralph M. Pope.
William B. Priest, born in 1816, is a son of Josiah and grandson of
Jonas Priest. He married Hannah, daughter of Amasa, and granddaughter of Samuel Taylor, who settled where Albert J. Priest now lives. Their children are: Hiram T. (killed at Gettysburg), Gusta, Alonzo W., Belle and Edward E. Jonas Priest came from Groton, Mass., and built the first house near Priest hill, by a stream west of Theodore W. Priest’s present residence.
Daniel H. Priest, born in 1816, married Emeline E. Brown, of Wilton, Me. Their children are: Emma L. (Mrs. Alonzo Hamlin), Everett W., Ida S. (Mrs. Mark R. Shorey), Nancy A. (Mrs. J. C. Evans), Effie E. (Mrs. Frank H. Upham) and Charles E. Mr. Priest is one of the
four sons of Josiah Priest.
Daniel C. Purinton, a son of Daniel C, came to Vassalboro when
a boy, in 1825, where he lived with his uncle, Joseph Howland, an
early settler. He married Mary Whittum. Their two sons are:
Charles L., born in 1854, who married Zellar Hamlin, and now lives
on the old Pratt place; and Henry W., born in 1855, who married
Minnie M. Pai-ks, of Richmond, N. B., and has one daughter, Jessie.
George M. Richardson’, born in 1825, is a descendant from Samuel
Richardson’, born in England in 1610, came to Woburn, Mass., about
1635, was leading citizen there until his death in 1658. His sixth
child, Stephen”, was born in 1649. Francis’ (1680-1755) bought in Attle-
boro in 1714; Seth’ (1716-1785) had a son, Seth’ (1756-1784), whose son,
Silas” (1791-1877), settled in Winslow about 1822. His wife was Ruth
Cutting, of Attleboro. Their son, George M., married Achsah D.,
daughter of Richard, and granddaughter of Richard Handy, who
came to Albion from Wareham, Mass. Their children are: Clara J.,
Ruth C. (Mrs. C. H. Morse, of Randolph), Lester, George D. and
Seth B. Richardson, born in 1856, is a son of John Richardson
(1813-1884), and grandson of Seth Richardson, who came to Vassalboro from Attleboro, Mass., about 1799, with his wife, Susanna Balcom, and here built the first house on the Richardson farm, the fram of which was a part of Mr. Richardson’s residence until it was burned
in June, 1891. Seth and Susanna Richardson had a large family of children. He died in 1856, aged seventy-eight. John succeeded to the homestead and married Hannah Sanborn, deceased. His second
wife was Cynthia Cross. Seth B. married Eliza C. Mosher, daughter of the late Elisha Mosher, of China. Their children are: A. Gertrude, Guy M. and James Corey Richardson.
He.man Robbins and his Descendants. â€” The Robbins family was
well known on Cape Cod for more than a hundred years preceding
the revolutionary war. There Heman Robbins belonged to the host
of seafaring men â€” a characteristic avocation of the inhabitants of
that stout arm of Massachusetts from that day to this. For several
years before the war many representative families left the Cape and
settled in the Kennebec valley, among whom came Heman and his
HISTORY OF KENNEBEC COUNTY.
family â€” living a short time in what is now Dresden, but settling permanently in Vassalboro, on lot 53. of the second range, in 1777, where
he built a log house the same year. He had four sons â€” Thomas,
Nathan, Isaac and Heman, jun., the latter born in 1776, in Dresden â€”
and three daughters.
Heman Robbins, jun., married Desire, daughther of James Mathews,
an old revolutionary soldier who served in the navy. They settled
on the old homestead, where they had six children: Stillman, who
lived to be only six years old; George A., James, Isaiah, and two
daughters, Elmira and Rebecca.
George A. Robbins, the eldest survivor of this family, whose portrait appears on another page, was born in 1812. On arriving at mature years he advised his father to make ample provision for the girls.
This he did by giving them the old homestead, where Elmira still
lives, also Rebecca’s husband, James A. Eugley. She died some years
ago. To his three sons the old gentleman gave $20 each. In 1840
George A. Robbins bought his present farm of eighty acres, lot 59, in
the second range, on which he erected the same year the comfortable
house still his home. The land was entirely wild, but his industry
and good management soon made it productive and profitable, adding
buildings and modern improvements.
October 26, 1834, Mr. Robbins married a girl of his own age, Ro-
setta, daughter of Andrew Bonney, of China, who came from Win-
throp to Parmenter hill, before Rosetta was born. He was a soldier
r ^. ^. //.-
TOWN OF VASSALBORO. 1135
under General Jackson and in the war of 1812. Their married life,
although not blessed with children, has been a long and happy one.
The completion of its fiftieth year was celebrated by a golden wedding. Among their many guests were several from Augusta, including Dr. H. H. Hill, Ira D. Sturgis, Nelson Leighton and Rev. Mr. Gledhill and his wife.
Heman Robbins and his wife were both Methodists, and in politics
he was a whig, and later a republican. The son cast his first presidential vote for General Harrison in 1840, and has been a republican ever
since that party has existed. He was town collector of taxes for three
years, and has settled some estates. He has often been solicited to
take local offices, but has always declined.
The cut on the opposite page shows Mr. Robbins’ attractive home,
where this worthy couple, in serene and happy old age, are enjoying
the rewards of well spent and useful lives.
James Robbins, born in 1813, is a son of Heman Robbins, jun.,
whose father settled on the estate now owned by James A. Eugley.
James married Martha Turner, of Whitefield, Me. She died leaving
one child, now Mrs. Hartwell Getchell. In 1844 he married Harriet
Turner, sister of his first wife. Their children are: Julia D., George,
Albert and Ira J.
Oliver P. Robbins, born in 1838, is a son of Howes Robbins (1812-
1889), and grandson of Thomas Robbins, the oldest son of Heman
Robbins, sen. Mrs. O. P. Robbins is Martha T., daughter of Isaiah
Pierce, of Windsor. They have seven children: Fred E., Mabel E.,
Frank A., Alice M., Lena P., Ethel M. and E. Payson Robbins. Mr.
Robbins is a farmer and prominently identified with the order of P.
Smith Robbins, born in 1846, is a son of Charles, whose father,
Isaac, was a son of Heman Robbins, from Cape Cod. Smith had one
brother, Sumner, who was born in 1844 and died in California in 1878.
Charles Robbins went to California in 1849 and ten years later removed his family there. They all returned in 1862, to Vassalboro,
where Mr. Robbins died in 1884, aged seventy-four. Smith Robbins
married Florence, a daughter of Captain David, son of Captain Elijah
and grandson of Eli Hawes, a farmer, who settled the farm at Cross
Hill, where Mr. W. Alvah Austin now lives. Mr. Robbins had two
sons: Arthur, and Charles S., deceased.
Samuel Robinson came from Lewiston to Vassalboro in 1798 or 1799. David, the third of his fifteen children, lived at East Vassalboro.
Mark R. Shorey, boss weaver since 1890, was born in 1850, in
Albion. He is a son of Sidney (born 1813), and grandson of Daniel
Shorey, who with his brothers, Luther and Phineas, were among the
first settlers in Albion. Mark R. came to North Vassalboro in 1868,
1136 HISTORY OF KENNEBEC COUNTY.
as apprentice in loom repairing for the woolen company. He then
learned weaving- and was two years at Rock Bottom, Mass. His wife,
Ida S., is a daughter of Daniel Priest. Their children are Alton and
J. Warren Starkey, born in 1825, died in Vassalboro in 1891. His
parents were Moses Starkey, and his second wife, Janette, daughter
of George Warren. Of their four sons, J. Warren was the youngest.
He married Charity Carr. Their four children were: Thomas H.,
Georgia, Howard and Sarah (Mrs. Carleton Shorey). Thomas H. Starkey, born in 1854, married Agnes Cross, and has two children: Glenn W. and Howard A. Moses Starkey was a Friend minister from Attleboro, Mass. He bought the home of John Taber, whose daughter, Eunice, was Moses’ first wife, agreeing that he would keep the house open to all Friend ministers, as John Taber had done.
John Stevens, of Cross Hill, who died in 1876, was born in 1795,
about the time his parents, Jacob and Elizabeth (Hillard) Stevens,
came to Vassalboro from Gilmanton, N. H. They settled on the east
side of the Cross Hill road, opposite the Jethro Gardner place, where
Jacob died in 1843, aged sixty-eight. John Stevens taught public
schools and was superintendent in the Methodist Sunday school. His
widow is Rhoda C. Hilt, from Camden, Me. Of her five children
three â€” Jacob M., Adella C. and R. Rufina â€” survive. Denman P. (deceased) left four children. George W. died in 1855.
Greenleaf W. (page 757) and Frank M. Ward are sons of Franklin
and Betsey (Spratt) Ward, grandsons of Abijah, and great-grandsons
of Abijah Ward, who was born in 1758 and was an early settler at
Ward’s Hill in China. Frank M. had been more than twenty years in
Nevada prior to 1890, owning large sheep ranches there, when he returned to Vassalboro and joined his brother in a mercantile business. His deceased wife was Louise, daughter of William White-
house. She left three children: David, Lulu and Humboldt N. His
present wife was Jennie Anderson.
Orrison Warren, a blacksmith at Seward’s Mills, born in 1836, is
a sou of Jared, and grandson of Richard Warren, who was seven years
a soldier in the revolution, and afterward settled in Vassalboro, where
Chandler F. Cobb lives. Mr. Warren enlisted in 1861 with Company
L 3d Maine. He was in California and Oregon from 1864 to 1868.
On his return he was married to Belle Nagel, of Pennsylvania. Their
children are : Fred F., Nettie M. and Carl Blaine Warren.
Israel Simpson Weeks, born in 1824, is a son of Daniel H. and Margaret (Simpson) Weeks, of Brunswick, and grandson of Winthrop Weeks, son of John, of Jefferson, Me. His father came to Vassalboro in 1849 with a family of three sons and seven daughters. He was a hydraulic-cement mason, and his son, Israel S., succeeded him at the same trade, being now well known as an expert and successful “builder of cisterns and large reservoirs. He accurately locates subterranean water courses, and has completed some of the best hydraulic works in the county.
Reuben Weeks was born in 1818 at Nantucket. In 1827 he came
with his father, Captain Reuben Weeks, to Vassalboro. His wife,
Octavia, is a daughter of Moses Bassett, who came from Cape Cod and
settled in Harlem (now China). Their children are: Hattie E., Abbie
B. (Mrs. Albert R. Ward, of China), Ella L. and Frank G. Weeks,
who died, leaving one daughter, Lottie. Captain Reuben Weeks,
in 1813, was captured by privateers and robbed of his ship and cargo
of whale oil.
Daniel Whitehouse, a descendant of Thomas Whitehouse, of Dover, N. H. (1658), came from Berwick to South Vassalboro when an old man. His children, some of whom had come previously, were: Ed mund, Daniel, jun., Thomas, Hannah and Comfort. Edmund had
children: John R., William, Edmund, jun., Benjamin, Maria, Phebe and Martha. Daniel, jun., had sons: David S., Seth C, Owen, Paul and Daniel. Thomas had sons: John and Thomas, jun.
John R. Whitehouse, son of Edmund, and grandson of Daniel
Whitehouse, married Hannah Percival, of Cape Cod, and they lived
and died at South Vassalboro in the homestead shown on this page.
Their children were: Helen Maria (Mrs. Wellman, deceased); Dulcia
Maria, (Mrs. Dr. Meigs) of West Virginia; Hildanus R., of Clinton,
Iowa; John P., of Augusta, Me.; Melissa R., (Mrs. Joseph Cloud) of
Baltimore; Oliver P., deceased, and Judge William Penn Whitehouse,
1138 HISTORY OF KENNEBEC COUNTY.
David M. Wyer, born in 1831, is a son of Shubael, and grandson of
Captain David Wyer, a whaler, of Nantucket, who came to East Vassalboro about 1810. He bought the farm where David now lives of John Brackett, and died at Taber hill. Shubael married Sally, a daughter of Captain John G. Fitch, a Nantucket whaleman, who came to East Vassalboro in 1827. David M. married Mary C, daughter of George G. Clark, whose father, Captain Albert Clark, came from Nantucket to Vassalboro about 1820. Mrs Wyer, at her death, left five children: Benjamin F., a druggist in Boston; Annie M. (Mrs. John F. Fletcher), Clara Belle, James C. and Hattie M. The present Mrs. Wyer is Josephine, a daughter of Jonathan Cross, of Cross Hill.
William A, Yates, born in 1852, is a son of Alexander and Lois E. (Thompson) Yates, of Bristol, Me., and grandson of William Yates. He married Ida F., a daughter of B. F. and Lydia C. (Tripp) Brightman, and granddaughter of Leonard and Phebe Brightman. They have two sons: Frank Brightman and Samuel Alexander Yates. Mr. Yates came in 1815 from Bristol to Vassalboro, where he built his present elegant residence in 1890.
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Hello! Just want to say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.
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