History of Jay, Franklin County, Maine

In attempting to write the early history of Jay, my native town, I have been influenced by three considerations: first, that no authentic history of the town has been written up to this date; second, that the opportunity for gathering the fragments of the early records of the town and gleaning from the fading memories of aged citizens the unwritten history of many important events connected with the lives of the early settlers will soon be lost forever; and third, that I have been induced by several of the contemporaries of my boyhood to take up the work because of the exceptional opportunities I have enjoyed for gathering up the materials for such a work. There are few persons who do not have a natural pride and interest in the place of their nativity and a desire to perpetuate the memories of their ancestors. But aside from these family considerations, it is an important duty of a town, and one which it owes to itself and the generations following, to have an authentic record of its early days placed in its archives for future reference. A thousand little incidents gathered from the lives of individuals or from private papers may cast light upon important questions that may arise in the future. A warrant for a town meeting or some other municipal regulation, apparently insignificant in itself, may fix a date or determine the motive of a transaction or exhibit the spirit of the age in which it occurred.

In this history I have endeavored to give a true account of the early settlement and genealogy of the early settlers and their descendants for the first and second generations, together with the manners and customs of those days. I do not claim that the work will be without errors, as family traditions are not always to be relied on. I have endeavored to go over the whole field, and if there are some omissions or misstatements I have only to say that I have written according to my best information. In gathering up the materials for the work I have been indebted somewhat to the Jay Register published by the G.H. Mitchell Company of Brunswick, 1905, also to the assistance of Miss Winifred Ladd of Jefferson, Maine.


Table of Contents

I. Topography Indians Early History of the Township I
II. Early Settlements 8
III. Official History 10
IV. Military History 14
V. Industries of Jay 17
VI. The Churches and the Ministry 22
VII. The Schools 27
VIII. Reminiscences of the Early Settlements 30
IX. Sketches and Anecdotes of Noted Men 40
Genealogy 63


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The town of Jay was originally known as "Phipps' Canada." It was granted by the General Court of Massachusetts to David Phipps and seventy-one others for services in the French War of 1755. It was incorporated in 1795 and named Jay for Hon. John Jay, the eminent jurist and statesman, who rendered distinguished diplomatic service to the American colonies as an ambassador to Spain and France at the close of the Revolution. It was a large township, six and three-fourths miles square, including thirty thousand acres more or less, about one-third of which was afterward set off and incorporated as the town of Canton in 1821.