eBooksRead.com books search new books
Oliver Sewall.

History of Chesterville, Maine (Volume 1) online

. (page 4 of 6)
Online LibraryOliver SewallHistory of Chesterville, Maine (Volume 1) → online text (page 4 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

at this ])lace was built by Edward Locke and his
son not far from ISll The stones of the old mill
were used This underwent some alterations, the
frame being once rebuilt ; but, in August 1828 it
was sold to Jonas Davis, who built "a new mill,
which did a fair business. Within a few years he
has put in Burr stones for wheat, which, with a
good bolt and cleanser, and a corn-cob cracker, makes
this a vahiable mill. He has also a shingle machine,
a circular cross-cut saw, and a machine for washing
clothes, propelled by water. Lately he has added
a thresher and some other machinery.

51. — E. Bennet's Auger Factory. — Joseph
Keith's Fulling and Carding Mill.

About 1816 Elisha Bennet, jr. put up a shop just
below the then existing Gristmill, and put in motion
a trip-hammer, the second in town. He carried on
the auger making business, and some other kinds of
smith work for a year or two and then sold out and
left the town. Joseph Keith was the purchaser. —
He i:un carding machines in this building, fulled,
colored and dressed cloth, a few years, when he
moved it off and put up the present fulling and
carding mill Here, with some partners at different
times, he has done a good business.



54 lIlSTOUY OF CuE.sTErivii.i.t;.

52. — Collins liOVEJov's Axe Factory.

In 1840 Collins Lovejoy, jr., built a shop a few
rods below Keitb's Fulling-mill. He put in motion
a trip-hammer, and applied water power to propel
a grindstone, emery polishing wheels, blow his fires,
&c. Here he carried on the axe making business a
few years, to a greater extent than any one else in
this region. Although the stream at this place is
not the town line, still the Sawmill on the north
side is in Farmington, This has been much improv-
ed of late, and includes a Threshing Machine, Shingle
Machine, Circular and Jig Saws, a Circular Crosscut
Saw, a Lathe, and a superior Planing Machine.

5o. — 'Ax Unfixisheo 'Sawmill.

In 1783 Benjamin Whittier and one or two others
with him built a dam across Wilson's Stream a few
rods below what is called the Whittier Bridge, and
erected a Sawmill. This, however, was never put in
operation ; for ^within a year or two a freshet gullied
around the end of the dam, and swept almost the
whole structure down river. The soil being sandy,
with a bed of clay underneath, a dam could not
well stand unless very thoroughly made and secured,
which would not repay the cost.

54. — Change of Town Line.

This was in the territory included in Chesterville
at its incorporation, as Farmington was bounded by
a direct line from the mouth of the Little Norridge-
wock to the moutli of Wilson's Stream. This placed



History of Chesterville. 55

the stream wholly m Chesterville at the site of this
mill. Between the two points above mentioned the
stream was made the town line, a few years after
the incorporation of Chesterville. This was the second
Sawmill erected in this town.

55- — Mills at Farmington Falls.

The first mill in Chesterville at Farmington Falls
was bnilt about 1830 for dressing hemp. The hemp
mania, (if this is the right term,) which had raged
awhile, dying away, the building was used for card-
ing wool and various other purposes. It has a Plan-
ing Machine, Lathe, Circular Saw. &c.

A few years later a Sawmill was built just above
the Hemp Mill. It did a good business for several
years, and contained some other machinery under
the same roof. In Oct. 1855 it was carried away
by a freshet, and rebuilt in 1857. That freshet was
believed to have been the highest and most power-
ful freshet within the memory of the oldest inhabi-
tant, not excepting that of 1820, which swept off
the bridgre and all the mills at Farminsrton Falls. —
The freshet of 1855 rose twenty-two feet above low
water mark at the bridge. A building has been
put up and finished within two or three years past,
just below the old Hemp Mill, and near the Bridge,
intended for a Machine Shop. It contains a Shingle
Machine and Threshing Machine. (Now, 1875, used
for a Spool Factory and Gristmill.)

56. — Wing's Mills.
In 1805 Allen Wing built a Sawmill in the south-
east part of the town, on a stream rising in Fayette



oC) History of Chesteuville.

and falling into Parker's Pond This mill did a good
business under the management of David and Alden
Wing, sons of Allen Wing, for years. Quantities of
red oak for ship's plank were sawed here. A Grist-
mill, Shingle Machine and Clapboard Machine were
afterwards put in operation a little below the Saw-
mill. In these mills much grinding has been done,
and much lumber has been shaped for market.

57. — Accident to Eli L. Wing.

By a belt connected with some of the machinery
of these mill?, Eli L. Wing, David Wi.ag's son, lost
his arm in 1887. As he was adjusting a belt his
hand was caught, and in a moment his arm with the
shoulder blade was torn from his body. He was
little better than dead when found a few minutes af-
ter, but by good attention he finally recovered. An
individual who viewed the place soon after the oc-
currence informed the writer that by the blood spat-
tered overhead and around the walls of the room it
was evident the arm must have been carried around
with the belt many times.

58. — Melancholy Death of Daniel Bachelder.

On the loth day of January 1858, a still more
serious occurrence took place in the building, and
within a few feet of the same spot where youn^
Wing lost his arm. Mr. Daniel Bachelder, aged
about 50, who owned the Shingle A'achine and Grist-
mill, went below to help start his shingle wheel,
which was somewhat fastened with ice. He took



lllSTOUY OF CllliSlERVII.LE. 57

with hini an axe and an iron bar. About an hour
after he was found dead, by David Wing, who hap-
pened to be there on business, near where he found
liis son in 1839. The wheel was going. The body
of My. Bachelder hiy balanced across a fence or rail-
ing near the wheel, his feet touching or very near
it. The iron bar was standing against tliis railing as
though placed there after being used. The axe was
found in another place. On oue arm of a wheel just
above the platform covering the waterwheel was a
mark evidently made by a blow fiom the bar point.
8ome violent blow had bruised and injured the side
of Mr. Bachelder s face, and had broken his neck.
The probability is that the blow c-iime from the bar
on the starting of the wheel, and that his death was
instantaneous. He is represented to have been a
very worthy citizen, an honest man and a humble
Christian.

Wing's Mill's aft^r being purchased by Benjamin
and Daniel Bachelder, were considerably improved.

5b. — Mill below Sand Pond.
In the early part of the present century William
Bennet put up a shop on the brook between Sand
Pond and Locke's Pond, and set in motion a trip-
hammer, the first in town, together with some other
machinery. The stream at the place is small, but
the power is increased by a fall of about twenty feet.
Mr. Bennet sold his interest a few years after, and
a Shingle Machine or Clapboard Machine, or both,
were run some time, and then a Lathe, but the
power had ceased to be used in 18 -5 6.



58 History of C-he^teuvillk.

60. — Mills on MiGurdy's Strf.a?h.

About 1816 Francis Tufts put a dam across Mc-
Gurdy's Stream near its mouth and built a Sawmill.
Some three years after he sold to John (lakes and
others, \vho put up a frame for a Gristmill, but
never put the mill in operaSiou. They repaired the
dam which, resting on a bed of sand, had been un-
dermined, and run the saw. Part of these owners
sold to Leonard and Joel Billings in 1824, and soon
after the latter put in operation the first Oil ]\Iill iu
the town. In 1827 the privilege was destroyed by a
freshet. Not long after Billings and E,uss built a
dam a few rods above the site of the old one and
put up a Sawmill, and Joel Billings erected an Oil
Mill at the same time. A few years later tlie mills
chan^jed owners and a Shingle Machine was intra-
duced. About 1842 the mills having become dilapi-
dated by age were abandoned, and the power has
not been since used. McGurdy's Stream is peculiar
for the warmth of its water, has comparatively little
descent or fail in its course, and rnns along a sandy
valley through a channel in which few stones ap-
pear. The volume of water is not large, and a dam
and mill above Whittier's Pond interfered somewhat
with the operations of the mills whose history is
here given.

61. — Saavmill Above Whittier's Pond.

In 1827 a Sawmill was built in Chesterville by
several men residing in Vienna. This was on Mc-



HiSTOKY OF Chf.sterville. 59

Gurdy's Stroam, ?ome three-fourths of a mile above
Whitticr's Pond, and less than half a mile northerly
from tb.e bridge and road near Cyrus S. Whittier's
residence. The mill run down by decay about 1844,
and a new one was built in 1845 by Saunders INIor-
rill and Thomas Dow. Air. Dow afterwards suc-
ceeded to the whole ownership. Both the first and
second mills had a profitable amount of business.

i]'l. — Starch Faciory.

A starch Factory, the first and only one in town,
was erected in 1844 on the lower mill privilege at
the Center Mills. It stands on or near the ground
which had been occupied by the last Sawmill built
by Dummer Sewall. It was profitably operated for
a few years, when an unforeseen calamity, the potato
rot, interfered with the business. It was run, how-
ever, to a limited extent, many years after every oth-
er similar establishment in the county had been
abandoned.

63. — Tanneries.

The first Tannery in town was started by Barna-
bas P. Merrick about 1807. It was on the south
side of the stream, near, but a little above the
Bridge, at the Center Mills. Water drawn from the
long flume of Linscott and others propelled a stone
for grinding bark a "number of years. Mr. Merrick
likewise manufactured boots and shoes. About 1822
he sold his tannery and moved to Pittsfield. A year
or two after Mr. Merrick started his business at the



60 PJisTORY OF Chf.stervillt:.

Center Mills. Billings »Sc Maddocks started the busi-
ness near the residence of the latter, in the north-
east part of the town. They c rried it on tocrether
till about 1816, when they dissolved partnership. —
After this "Sir. jNIaddocks prossecuted the business a
few Tears at the old stand. My. Billings put down
vats and built a tan-house on his own land, (the
Clarke Whittier farm,) and carried on the business
several years. Neither of the yards are now used.

About I'^S-I: Stephen and John Gilman made a
beginning at the yard now existing at the Center
Mills, oppf^site the Starch Factory. They soon fail-
ed, however, and removed from the ])Iace. Several
others have successively owned and improved the
yard. In L'^SB a cast iron Bark Mill, propelled by
water power, prepared the tan f)r use, a large
building covered the vats, with an attic for finishing
leather. It was then can'ied on by Riggs & Phil-
brick. [Mr. Riggs has since become sole proprietor
and an account of the improvements he has intro-
duced will make an interesting chapter of the ap-
pendix to this histoiT.]

A little west of this tan-yard are two or three
buildin<'-s nsed for the manufacture of matches

64. — Were's Tannery.

About 1833 Joseph E. Were put up buildings and
made a tan-yard at Farmington Falls on the Ches-
terville side of the river not far below the Bridge.
This estdblishment had many conveniences and facili-
ties for saving labor and tanning at any season of



History of Chesterville. 61

the year. It was on a scale superior to most tanne-
ries in the vicinity. After a few years it was de-
stroyed by fire, and rebuilt on a somewhat smaller
scale. The business was carried on a few years
longer by Mr. Were and Mr. Bunter, but was at
length abandoned, and the buildings taken down or
converted to other uses.

65. — First Meeting - House,

The first Meeting-house in Chesterville was raised
June 15, 1815. The dimensions were about forty-
five by thirty-six feet, with nineteen feet posts. It
was put up mostly by the Congregationalists and
Baptists, and was started by voluntary subscription.
It was boarded and the roof was shingled, so that a
Sabbath meeting was held in it on the 16th of July
of the same year. The stand for the preacher was
made of rough planks placed on carpenter's saw-
horses, and two of them were the pieces of a plank
which broke under two men while placing the raf-
ters in raising. The men saved themselves from
falling with the plank by catching on the timbers,
although one of them had a broad axe in his hand.
The seats, too, were all rough and temporary. The
house was clapboarded, the doors were hung and th^^
pulpit built within the next two or three years, but
the pews were not made till 1820. The previous
year the pews were sold and conveyed accordino; to
a plan, for enough to pay for 'the house ; at which
time some other denominations became owners. Af-
ter several years it was re-clapboaided and painted



62 History of Chesterville.

white, and the pulpit, which had been high, lower-
ed down. It was used for meetings on the Sabbath
and at other times, on its first location, a little south-
east of the Center Mills, till March 1851. Rev. .lo-
th am Sewall preached the first, and Rev. Samuel
Wheeler the last sermon in it, as it then stood. A
few of the choir, with the same leader, attended on
both occasions, although the term between them was
almost thirty-six years.

66. — Removal of Meeting -House.

March 25, 1851, the taking down of the Meeting-
house was commenced. This was effected without
accident, except that Abner Pierce was rendered
temporarily lame by the swinging of a post which
struck him near the hips- The house thus demol-
ished was removed to Keith's Mills, or North Ches-
terville, where it was rebuilt in a different form, the
same year, and 'dedicated in December. The di-
mensions at the sills and beams are the same as be-
fore, but it contains a less number of pews, for a
piazza occupies five feet across one end. The posts
are shorter, the roof steeper, the windows fewer and
larger, and a belfry is added. Here hangs a bell,
weighing about 400 pounds purchased by Rev. Jo-
tham Sewall, a year or two before his death. This
is the first and the only bell in the town.

67. — Meeting - House at Chesterville Center.

While the first Meeting-House was being rebuilt
at Keith's Mills another Meeting-House wa? erected



History of Chesterville. 63

and finished at Chesterville Center. This house is
somewhat hirger than that at North Chesterville and
likewise has a belfry. Both houses are union hous-
es, and they are the only Meeting-Houses in town.
Some of the inhabitants in the southern part of the
town own pews in North Fayette Meeting-House,
situated about a half-mile south of the town line.
Similarly situated are some in the north-east part of
tlie town who attend meetings in the union Meeting-
Jiouse at Farmington Falls.

68. — School ^ Houses.

The first School House in Chesterville was built
by subscription several yours before the incorpora-
tion of the town. It stood on the John Jlitchell lot,
near the present dwelling of David M. Hamilton, but
was never fully finished. It was used for schools
and religious meetings a number of years. The earli-
est school in the settlement was here taught by a
mistress. Miss Philena Whitaker, commencing early
in tlu' season of 1797. She taught here two sum-
mers, giving general satisfaction. Soon after closing
the last school of the two, in August 179l:s, she w^as
married to Rev. Jonathan Ward of New Miford, now
Alna, by Rev. Mr. Gillet of Hallow^ell, in a public
meeting at the house of Jotham Sewall. This is
believed to have been the first marriage in the place,
and that only one, while an inhabitant of the town,
w^as married at an earlier date. William Whittier
of Farmington was married to Agnes, daughter of
John Butterfield, sen., at Mr. Butterfield's house in



64 History of Chesterville.

the north-east part of the town, some three and a
half or four years before. Another School House
was built by subscription, near Mr. Bragdon's, a few
years before the plantation became a town, which
was used a short time and then sold. The first school
in that vicinity was taught by a Miss Smith, before
the School-house was put up, in Mr. Bragdon's barn.
She was afterwards married to Josiah Norcross, sen.,
of Farmington.

The first school that was taught in the first school-
house after the town was incorporated was taught
by a Miss Robinson. The house was used for schools
and meetings till another schoolhouse was built. It
was at length sold to Wm. Stickney for a dwelling
house.

69.— School Districts.

For several years after the town was organized it
was divided into four school districts. A school-
house for District No. 1 was built near Jotham Sew-
all's south line, which was used for schools and
meetings a number of years About 1816 it was re-
moved, on a division of the district, and stood several
years where the bric^: one at the Center Mills now
stands. The brick schoolhouse was erected in 18-3:-*.
This district was originally large in territory, em-
bracing all the central and northerly part of the
town, excepting the neighborhood in the north-east
part.

District No. 2, at first embraced the southern part
of the town east of the Ridge, and one or two fami-



History of Chesteryille. 65

lies west of it. For this a schoolhousc was built at
the road angle south-east of the residence of Moses
French. When this became old and out of repair
the district was divided, and two schoolhouses were
erected, one on each leading road.

What was once called Russellborough, in the
south-west corner of the town, formed District No, 3.
The inhabitants of this district, not being numerous,
got along without a schoolhouse many years, but at
length one was erected. This is believed to be the
only school district in the town remaining unaltered
from its formation to the present time. It is too
small to divide, and lias no neighbors so situated as
to ask annexation.

District No. 4 was constituted from the northeast
part of the town. Its schoolhouse stood near the
residence of Peter Whittier for several years. This
territory now embraces three districts, each having
a schoolhouse.

As before remarked District No. 1 was originally
large. By divisions made at different times it made
eight districts about 1853. One of these eight never
belonged to No. 1, except as wild land. It was
settled after some of the divisions were made. Just
previous to 1854. the town contained fifteen districts.
That year quite an overturn was made and several
districts were annihilated by annexing them to oth-
ers. This work was mostly confined to the territory
formerly included in District No, 1. All the fifteen
districts excepting two had schoolhouses, several of
which were thrown out of use and subsecjueutly sold



66 History of Chestep.villk.

or taken down. This reduced the number of dis- J
triets to eleven. '

70. — Villages. — Center Mills.

The largest village in Chestervillc is at the Center
Mills. Within a few years past, it has contained a j
tavern, two or three stores, two blacksmith's shops, '
a Post Office, a harness maker, a wheelwright, pail,
match, organ-pipe, and starch factories, and some
other establishments.

"^1. — Other Villages.

The village second in size is at Keith's Mills. It
has a Post Office, tavern, store, two smith's shops,
with several other shops and mills. The villa<ye on
the Chestervillc side of Farmington Falls contains
one store, three mills and machine-shops, one smith, J
and a few other establishments. '

72. — Roads.

The first road through Chesterville was cut and
cleared in 1780. From the Sandy River settlements,
(afterwards Farmington,) it passed near Keith's Mills,
over Locke's Hill, by the Center Mills, along on
nature's turnpike — The Ridge — to a point near the
present residence of Seth Norcross, then turned
south-easterly by the residences of Mr. Norcross and
Moses French, just beyond which it entered what
was then called "The Five Mile Woods," (there be-
ing no settlers there for that distance for some time



History of Chestervillk. ^"i

after the settlements were made farther north,) — and
thence to the Stone Mills, then called Taylor's Mills.
On the second hill on this side of Taylor's the road
was at first cleared and used east of the present lo-
cation, and nearly over the top of the hill, which is
an elevated point. On the southerly cant of this hill,
a little below the summit, was a spot of very thick
evergreen timber, through which the road passed,
and which bore the name of '-The Dark Entry."

In December 1790 a road was cleared which left
the first north of McGurdy's Pond, and passed over
the Bachelder Hill, and joined the other aloout half a
mile south of the residence of Elisha Perry. On one
of these roads the mail was carried from Hallowell
to Farmington, on horseback, for years. It was also
the main road used for marketing produce and trans-
porting goods to the Sandy River region. A branch
from the first road near the residence of Isaac Eaton,
and another following the Ridge almost to its end,
as well as one from the first, south-easterly of the
residence of Moses French, — all leading to Fayette
through different neighborhoods, were opened at a
later date.

A continuation of the river road, on the west side
of the river in Farmington, by the settlements of Mr.
Maddocks and others, in the north-east part of the
town, led to Pilsbury's Corner in New Sharon ; from
whence it led one way to Vienna and the other to
New Sharon and Mercer.

73. — The Co-os Road.
Another road leaving the first at Jotham Se wall's



70 History of Ciiesterville.

the bed of the river. Quite a number of bridges at
the Falls have been swept away by freshets.

Another bridge across the Wilson Stream costs the
town no small sum. It is the first bridge above the
mouth of the stream, and is known as Whittier's
Bridge. Ciiesterville has to maintain more than one
half of this, and the ground being lower on the south-
east side of the stream, it sometimes happens, — as
after the freshet of Oct. 1855, — that Chesterville is
obliged to rebuild when Farmington is not.

Another bridge spans the Wilson Stream at Keith's
Mills. This place has been left bridgeless after ma-
ny a freshet. Sometimes it has been only partially
swept off; and once in a while part of the lumber
used in its construction has been saved by efforts
made below. In consequence of a rain on the 6th
of April 1857, a severe and destructive freshet oc-
curred. The water did not rise so high as at many
other times, but the damage was chiefly done by
the ice which had become thicker than usual during
the previous winter. Neither had there been, up to
the time of the rain, much weather tending to weak-
en it. The banks of the- stream too, above the
place, were more destitute of trees and bushes to
hold back the ice, than they had formerly been- As
a consequence the ice came down in large cakes
and with amazing force. During the night of the
6th the little which lay within some twenty rods
above the bridge, had partially demolished one of
its wooden piers, and a jamb of ice had formed just
above the opening thus made. Hopes were enter-



History of CiiEsrEiiViLLE. 71

tained that this jamb would hold on till the water
subsided, but these were vain hopes. About noon
of the 7th, that, with other ice from above had fin-
ished the broken pier, smashed up the other, and
set most of,! the plank? and stringers afloat. The
stone pier in the middle of the stream, as well as
the stone abutment on the north side, were sadly
disfif^ured ; many stones being tlirown into the stream.
Some of the timber was recovered, being stopped by
a jamb of ice which rested a few hours below the mills.
A shop standing near the bridge and p.artly over the
stream was seriously damaged. Mr. Lovejoy, the
owner^ sustained considerable loss, as the shop had
to be taken down and rebuilt, A new bridge in
place of the one carried away was not made passa-
ble till the following September. This is, apparently
the best bridge ever erected at this place. The stone
pier and abuutments were built over or repaired,
rendering the bridge higher than any of the preced-
ing bridges had been. On the whole it has been
very expensive maintaining a bridge here.

Across the Little Norrido-ewock we have bridges
of greater or less magnitude. Most of these are


1 2 4 6

Online LibraryOliver SewallHistory of Chesterville, Maine (Volume 1) → online text (page 4 of 6)
Using the text of ebook History of Chesterville, Maine (Volume 1) by Oliver Sewall active link like:
read the ebook History of Chesterville, Maine (Volume 1) is obligatory.

Leave us your feedback | Links exchange | RSS feed 

Online library ebooksread.com © 2007-2014