History of the town of Leeds, Androscoggin County, Maine, from its settlement June 10, 1780

In the preparation and publication of a town history, no inexperienced individual is aware of the innumerable difficulties that are met by the unfortunate who so dearly pays the penalty of the great mistake of a life- time. Of the many reasons that might be assigned for engaging in the arduous task, one only is presented by the writer that of necessity, forced on him because of his family connection with the first settlers, who were concerned in primitive events of the town. On one condition was the responsibility assumed, and that was that a committee elected by the town, consisting of ten or more of its citizens, should furnish the data embodying the material of which the history was to be composed, and do it sufficiently early to enable the writer to have as much of the limited time as possible to prepare the work for publication. How well and fully that condition has been complied with may be imagined but not realized. We offer no apology! The work is submitted, and must fall or stand on its merit.

Special effort has been made to obtain biographies and family records, a feature of greater value than all else combined. In gathering data, more and more were we impressed that too long, already, has this work been neglected. A few years hence, and much herein contained, had it remained unwritten, would pass with those who hold it in trust, beyond the power of man to reclaim. Even now, in the absence of reliable records, interesting, valuable, and noteworthy matter is entombed with the silent dead. But a few years ago, and the shade and gloom now attaching to ripening years and waning intellects, drawing their shroud over fallen relics of other days, were resplendent lights, shining brightly on the pathways of their cherished ancestors.

Although regrets are in vain, many are those of the writer for the omission of families who should have appeared in their proper places in this work. Those there are to whom appeals have been repeatedly made, to lend their aid in supplying matter pertaining to their own family history, who, in their ease, will criticize the arrangement, sneer at the diction, and curse the other fellow for omissions for which they themselves are censurable. None are omitted by intention or design; but for want of material information. We do not pose as a public store-house of knowledge, from which may be drawn, in unmeasured quantities, the family affairs of those whose concerns are their own. Much of the given time in which to pre- pare this work has been consumed in obtaining the material of which it is composed. The hurry in submitting it to writing and preparing it for publication are offered for the imperfections which may appear.

 

Table of Contents

Preface.
I. Name Location Natural Features, etc,... I

Petition and Act of Incorporation... 6
II. The Aborigines... 9
III. Early Settlers and Their Families... 17
Stinchfield Family... 17
Millett Family... 41
Lane Family... 50
Francis Family... 55
Bishop Family... 63
Lothrop Family... 69
Gilbert Family... 74
Jennings Family... 79
Turner Family... 84
Foss Family... 89
Leadbetter Family... 107
George Family ...109
Sylvester Family... 112
Fish Family... 115
Cushman Family... 117
Lindsey Family... 124
Knapp Family... 133
Foster Family... 140
Brewster Family... 147
Gould Family... 150
Pettingill Family... 153
Curtis Family... 157
Otis Family... 162
Caswell Family... 166
Howe Family... 168
Wing Family... 169
Additon Family... 172
Howard Family... 175
Deane Family... 196
Mitchell Family... 198
Herrick Family... 199
Boothby Family... 205
Ramsdell Family... 218
Parcher Family... 220
Bates Family... 221
Merrill Family... 222
Hanscom Family... 224
Leadbetter, Horace... 226
True Family... 227
Gordon Family... 229
Other Families... 231
IV. Heads of Families in the Early Part of the 19th Century... 244
V. First Mills and Other Industries... 248
VI. A Condensed Review of the History of the Baptist Churches in Leeds from about A.D. 1800 to 1901... 251
VII. History of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Leeds... 254
VIII. Universalist Church... 257
IX. Churches... 261
X. Schools of Leeds... 263
XL Professional Men... 269 XII. Excerpts from Town Records... 271
XIII. List of Leeds Town Officers... 275
XIV. Military Record of Leeds... 285
XV. Mail Routes Post-Offices Postmasters... 297
XVI. Ladies' Aid Society... 300
XVII. Secret Societies... 302
XVIII. Androscoggin Railroad... 306
XIX. Gleanings... 311
XX. Marriage Intentions with Date of Certificate... 323
XXI. Genealogy... 362

 

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The origin of the primitive inhabitants of North America is involved in complete obscurity. That they were one of the ancient nations of mankind, no logical or reasonable doubt can be entertained. At what date, or by what means they became inhabitants of the western continent must remain shrouded in mystery and uncertainty, an unsolved problem, until further research shall discover the mysteries of "The great unknown."

The earliest books on America contained tales that only the wildest fancy could imagine and picture. Cartier claimed that a people might there be found who neither ate nor drank. And Lafitau believed that a headless race existed there. What a conception of one of the most noble races of men! They were endowed by Nature with propensities befitting their surroundings. The Redman is nowhere at home except in the chase, or gliding along some lake or stream in his bark canoe. Such a race could live only in a country of woods and wild, animals. Deprived of these, he pines, languishes and dies broken-hearted. The illimitable hunting-grounds, forest, hill and river, were the Indian's earthly paradise, and the type of his home hereafter. Not unlike the nations of the East, governments existed with them, founded on principles more just and equitable and less barbarous and tyrannical than most others of their time. They were divided into nations and subdivided into tribes, and again, into clans. Their plan of government may have had weight with the founders of our Republic. Their nations like our States had their great sachems or chiefs, and their advisory councils from the smaller chiefs of the tribes corresponding to our counties, while their clans, like our towns, had their chiefs, who were admitted to the councils of the tribes. Without the knowledge of the existence of foreign nations, a union of their nations or States, for self-preservation, was instinctively provided for. Lying south of the land of the Esquimaux, embracing nearly all of Canada and that portion of the United States east of the Mississippi River and north of the thirty-seventh parallel of latitude, spread the great family of the Algonkins. The council-seat of this great confederation of nations was on the Ottawa River. Within this vast domain, like an oasis, the hunting grounds of those powerful nations, the Huron-Iroquois, were situated. Their jurisdiction extended from Georgian Ray and Lake Huron to Lakes Erie and Ontario, south of those lakes to this valley of the Upper Ohio, and eastward to the Sorel River. Two nations of the Algonkin confederacy, the Etchemins or canoemen, and the Abenakis, occupied Maine and the eastern coast of Canada. The Etchemins dwelt both on the St. John and St. Croix Rivers and the coast as far west as Mount Desert. The Abenakis occupied all the territory from the land of the Etchemins to the eastern boundary line of New Hampshire. The number of tribes into which a nation divided was determined by the number of rivers within its jurisdiction that empties its waters into the sea or large lakes. On these, their wigwam villages were planted, while the tents of their clans, for convenience in hunting, were spread on its tributaries or by the lakeside where corn could conveniently be grown. The names given to the nations, tribes, and clans were those suggested by the prominence of some natural feature of the place of their location. The Indians had an undying love for running water, which has even been a favorite high- way to no people more than they a means of immigration best suited to the genius of savage life ; and even civilized man has no path so free as the lake, the river, and the sea. Thus the four principal rivers of Maine were the hunting grounds for the four tribes into which the Abenakis Nation was divided, viz.: Wawenocks on the Penobscot; Canibas on the Kennebec; Anasagunticooks on the Androscoggin; and Sokokis on the Saco. The Wawenocks were later called Penobscots, and the Anasagunti-cooks Androscoggins.