Illustrated history of Kennebec County, Maine

History is a record of human experience. Human acts are its sources, its forces, its substance, its soul. Individual life is its unit; collective biography its sum total. This book is an effort to preserve some of the staple facts in the lives of the men and women of Kennebec county. Those who have attempted such work know its difficulties; those who have not cannot understand them.

Early local history is, at best, but a collection of memories and traditions, with an occasional precious bit of written data. Of necessity, such chains have many missing links. The questioner is so frequently told that had he but come ten or twenty years ago, such and such an one, now gone, could have told him so much. Those people then would surely have said the same of their predecessors. So if, for the printed page, we get what we can when we can, the reader has the best obtainable.

Happily, both in character and extent, the matter here given greatly excels the original expectations and plans of the publishers. In addition to the historical matter, in which they take genuine pride, they regard as of great importance the genealogical and biographical matter.

The facts of life and generation are beyond question of superlative worth. There is no more significant tendency of civilization than the growing attention paid to making more detailed records of family statistics. Scarcely a New England family of long, vigorous continuance can be found, some loyal member of which has not at great cost of time and often of money prepared an approximate genealogy. Every effort at local history puts in imperishable form the priceless annals of the past. The recollections and experiences taken from the lips of the aged is so much rescued from oblivion. Every prominent figure in the realms of business, science, art or profession has passed through the uneventful periods of childhood and youth, often in some obscure locality; and there is not a town in Kennebec county - whose pride in having produced and whose interest in watching or relating the careers of its honored sons and daughters do not still make its air richer and its sunshine brighter.

While writing these last lines on a winter's day near the close of the second year of labor on the work in hand, we wish in behalf of their posterity, whom we have tried to serve, to thank the good people of Kennebec who have so kindly and faithfully cooperated with us in every way to make this volume worthy of its title. Besides to twenty writers whose names these chapters bear, we gladly acknowledge our obligation to more than twenty hundred who have, in personal inter- views or in correspondence, or both, done what they could to leave for coming times this record of their county's past this monument to what it is.

 

Table of Contents

Chapter I.
General View 1

Chapter II.
The Indians of the Kennebec 9

Chapter III.
Sources of Land Titles 72

Chapter IV.
Civil History and Institutions 78

Chapter V.
Military History 109

Chapter VI.
Military History (Concluded) 122

Chapter VII.
Industrial Resources 175

Chapter VIII.
Agriculture and Live Stock 187

Chapter IX.
Travel and Transportation 225

Chapter X.
The Newspaper Press 238

Chapter XI.
Literature and Literary People 254

Chapter XII.
The Society of Friends 269

Chapter XIII.
History of the Courts 297

Chapter XIV.
The Kennebec Bar 308

Chapter XV.
The Medical Profession 347

Chapter XVI.
Augusta 381

Chapter XVII.
Augusta (Continued) 405

Chapter XVIII.
Augusta (Concluded) 427

Chapter XIX.
Hallowell 489

Chapter XX.
Town of Farmingdale 517

Chapter XXI.
Town of Winslow 537

Chapter XXII.
City of Waterville 568

Chapter XXIII.
City of Waterville (Concluded) 580

Chapter XXIV.
The City of Gardiner 601

Chapter XXV.
Town of West Gardiner 668

Chapter XXVI.
Town of Litchfield 684

Chapter XXVII.
Town of Pittston 712

Chapter XXVIII.
Town of Randolph 738

Chapter XXIX.
Town of Chelsea 749

Chapter XXX.
Town of Monmouth 764

Chapter XXXI.
Town of Wayne 807

Chapter XXXII.
Town of Winthrop 826

Chapter XXXIII.
Town of Manchester 875

Chapter XXXIV.
Town of Readfield 890

Chapter XXXV.
Town of Mount Vernon 930

Chapter XXXVI.
Town of Fayette 953

Chapter XXXVII.
Town of Vienna 974

Chapter XXXVIII.
Town of Rome 988

Chapter XXXIX.
Town of Belgrade 993

Chapter XL.
Town of Sidney 1034

Chapter XLI.
Town of Oakland 1064

Chapter XLII.
Town of Vassalboro 1095

Chapter XLIII.
Town of China 1139

Chapter XLIV.
Town of Windsor 1172

Chapter XLV.
Town of Albion 1194

Chapter XLVI.
Town of Benton 1218

Chapter XLVII.
Town of Clinton 1243

 

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The story of the aborigines of Maine blends inseparably with the history of the struggle that lasted for a century and a half between France and England for supremacy in the New World. In the first decade of the 17th century, Henry IV of France and James I of England, grasped simultaneously as jewels for their respective crowns, the greater part of North America. Spain, the patron and the beneficiary of Columbus, had enjoyed exclusively for three generations the wealth of the western hemisphere, whose productions of "barbaric pearl or gold" had spoiled the Spaniard to the point of surfeit and effeminacy, and made him look lightly on all territory that was destitute of the glittering ores. Northward from Florida the latitudes were open to any nation that could maintain itself against the jealousy of its rivals. The mosses of an hundred years had gathered on Columbus' tomb before the impulse of his mighty achievement aroused the statesmen of central Europe to schemes of empire on the continent to which he had shown the way across a chartless ocean. France took the initiative. Henry vaguely lined out as his own in 1603, by royal patent, the most of the territory of the present United States. James asserted a like claim to the same vast tract, with considerably enlarged boundaries. Frenchmen broke ground for colonization at Passamaquoddy in 1604. Englishmen followed at the mouth of the Kennebec in 1607. Neither colony was successful, but the two begin the history of New France and New England, and introduce to us the Indians who inhabited the land in the shadow of the untrimmed forest. The claim of France to Acadia, whose western bound was defined by the Kennebec (where DuMont and Champlain raised the fleur-de lis in 1605), and the counter-claim of the English to the Penobscot (or actually to the St. George, where Weymouth erected his cross of discovery the same year), made the territory of future Maine from its earliest occupation by the whites the prolific source of international irritation and intrigue; and the theater of a series of sanguinary conflicts that ended only when New France was expunged from the map of America by the fall of Quebec in 1759. Ancient Acadia passed nine times between France and England in the period of 127 years. In this eventful contest the issue of which left North America to the English people the uncivilized red men in their native wilds were prominent participants the dupes and victims of the one side and the other until the tribes were decimated and one by one extinguished. It is our present task to study the history of the famous tribe that dwelt in the valley of the Kennebec.