Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.

History of Durham, Maine; online

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3 3433 08178370



Durham, Maine








Chapter Page


I. Origin of Royalsborough i

II. Some of the Founders and First Settlers. .^ , . . . 8

III. Organization and Incorporation 20

IV. Roads, Ferries, and Bridges 27

V. Ecclesiastical History 43

VI. Schools t;

VII. Industries and Trades 82

VIII. Military Record 88

IX. A Few out of Many 105

X. Historical Miscellany 129

XI. Centennial 137

XII. Genealogical Notes 148

Appendix 291

Indices 305


Gen. Isaac Royall Frontispiece

Looking North from Union Church Opposite page 2

Plan of Ro3'alsborough " " 5

Josiah Little " " 10

Autograph Letter of Major Charles Gerrish " " 13

The Oldest House in Durham " " 16

View on the Androscoggin " " 31

The Little Red School House " " 33

Map of Durham " " 41

Rev. Jacob Herrick " " 48

Sarah (Webster) Herrick " " 51

Congregational Church " " 32

Methodist Episcopal Church " " 58

Union Church " " 60

Rev. Moses Hanscom " " 61

Free Baptist Church " " 62

Friends' Meeting House " " 63

Rev. Samuel Newell " " 64

Rev. Jonathan Tracy " " 67

Rev. John Miller " " 68

Nathan Douglas " " 69

Rev. George Plummer " " 70

Rev. Frederick Howard Eveleth, D.D '* " 71

Rev. Everett S. Stackpole "' " 73

Rev. Charles Henry Stackpole " " 75

School House at South West Bend " " 79

The Stone Mill " " 82

South West Bend " " 87

Rev. Allen H. Cobb " " 105

Hon. Nelson Dingley, Jr " " 106

Thomas Estes " " 108

Col. William R. G. Estes " " 109

Julius Edwin Eveleth " " no


Joseph Marriner Gerrish Opposite page in

John Jordan Gerrish " " 112

Hon. William H. Newell " " 115

William B. Newell " " 117

Dr. Alexander M. Parker " " ng

Joseph Plummer " " 120

Edward Plummer " " 120

Jacob H. Roak " " 121

Hon. William D. Roak " " 121

Alfred Roberts " " 122

Annie J. (Fitz) Roberts " " 122

Samuel Owen Stackpole " " 123

James Strout " " 124

Dr. David B. Strout " " 124

William Harrison Thomas " " 125

Waitstill Webber " " 126

Howe Weeks " " 127

Dr. William Riley Wright " " 12S

Durham Fair " " 134

A Rustic Bridge " " 139

Looking Down the River '. . . . " " 142

View of Durham from Mountfort's Hill " " 147

David Bowie " " 155

Sewall Gushing " " 165

Lorenzo Day " " 169

Gornelius Douglas " " 172

James H. Eveleth " " 182

William Gerrish " " 189

Zebulon King Harmon " " 196

Jacob Herrick, Jr " " 200

Abigail (Scott) Herrick " " 200

Jotham Johnson " " 203

Sarah (Miller) (Jordan) Dingley " " 207

Secomb Jordan " " 208

Gharles Emery Knight ' " " 209

Jonathan Libby " " 213

Eliza (Swett) Macomber " " 217

Jonathan C. Merrill " " 219

William Miller " " 220

John Miller " " 222



Israel Mitchell Opposite page 224

Ebenezer Newell " " 227

Fred Webster Newell " " 228

John D. Osgood " " 231

Washington Parker " " 235

Henry Plummer " " 238

Algernon M. Roak " " 243

The Stackpole Homestead " " 249

David Dunning Stackpole " " 251

William Stackpole " " 252

Elisha Stetson, Jr " " 253

Jonathan Strout " " 256

James Strout, Jr " " 257

Revillo M. Strout " " 258

Woodbury Thomas " " 263

Joanna (Roberts) Turner " " 270

David Vining " " 275

Emery S. Warren " " 279

Ai Waterhouse " '' 280

Residence of Charles W. Webber " " 282

Joseph Webster " " 283

Benjamin Weeks, Jr '•' " 284

Barnard Williams " " 287


The preparation of this History has been a labor and a delight. It
has been impossible to cite authority for every statement, yet nothing
has been stated without good evidence. The principal sources have been
the Town Records of Royalsborough and Durham, well preserved; the
Church Records, of which there are only fragments; manuscript Records
of the Pejepscot Co.; Archives of Massachusetts; Military Rolls;
Family Registers; old Diaries and Account Books; and the "traditions
of the elders" which memory has been gathering forty years. All the
published Histories of Towns in Maine and of many in N. H. and Mass.
have been diligently examined. Maine Wills and York Deeds have been
studied. The County Records at Portland and Alfred have been searched;
likewise the Records of Lewiston, Lisbon, Topsham, Brunswick,
Harpswell, Georgetov/n, Freeport, No. Yarmouth. Falmouth, Cape
Elizabeth, Scarborough, Saco, Kittery, Berwick, Gorham, Windham, and
of Dover, N. H. Every History of Maine has been consulted. The
publications of the Maine Historical Society and various genealogical
Magazines have been utilized. Notes have been exchanged with several
authors who are preparing Histories of Towns and of Families. In fact
no pains have been spared in seeking information from every known

The assistance of the following persons is cheerfully acknowledged:
William D. Roak, who for many years has been collecting material for
a History of Durham; Benjamin F. Nason, who preserved in writing
valuable traditions; Dr. David B. Strout, who left several historical
manuscripts; Charles W. Webber, whose capacious memory holds most
of the lore and family history of So. Durham; Josiah H. Williams, whose
historical sketch in Androscoggin County Atlas has been helpful; William
H. Thomas, whose aid in business management has been of great value;
and a very large number of others, whose letters have contained useful
information and encouragement.

Not the least important and interesting feature of this volume is the
portraits and illustrations, which have largely been furnished by the
generosity of friends. The endeavor has been to present as good results
as the art of the engraver could produce from defective daguerreotypes,
tin-types and photographs collected. The credit is due to the Suffolk
Engraving Company of Boston.

It is believed that the History will be of especial service to
Genealogists, since all the births, marriages and deaths found in Durham
Town Records down to 1840 are either interwoven with the genealogies
or appended at the end of the volume. This may save many a journey
to Durham and much labor to the Town Clerk. Special effort has been
made to secure accuracy and fulness. In a few cases the Town Records
have been corrected by indisputable evidence from private sources.



Can any good come out of Nazareth? Can anything of
interest be said about a small country tOAvn ? Read and see. A
place possesses historical interest not because of its size, produc-
tions, wealth and natural beauty, but because of the character and
deeds of its natives and citizens. The highest praise of any town
is to point to noble men and say, "These were born there.'
So it is believed that something good and of public interest may
be written of Durham. It should also be remembered that
Durham was not always side-tracked by surrounding railroads.
The highway of commerce for the back towns once ran through
it and made the "County Road" and "South West Bend" con-
spicuous in the eyes of travelers. Durham contained a prosper-
ous village and was the trading center for a region stretching
twenty miles or more northward, at a time when Lewiston and
x^uburn had no industrial and commercial importance.

x'Vnd yet it must not be concluded that Durham is an ancient
town. When we read of settlers in North Yarmouth and Bruns-
wick before 1640, we wonder that no adventurer built his log-
house in Durham earlier than 1763, so far as history records.
The first settlers of Maine kept pretty close to the coast and
along navigable streams, thus to have easy communication by
means of sailing vessels and to provide defense and a way of
possible retreat, if attacked by hostile Indians. The inland was
exploited somewhat for ship-timber, but farmers found equally
good soil in pleasanter and safer surroundings. It was not till
the Indian wars had ceased that farming lands became market-
able in the inland regions of Maine. So it happened that the soil
of Durham was rarely pressed by the feet of the pale faces for
many years after, in 1690, Major Church led his little army from
Maquoit Bay along the westerly side of the Androscoggin to the
capture of the Indian fort near Drummond Street, in what was
long afterward called "Goff's Town" and is the present city of
Auburn. As they marched up over the hill at South West Bend,


did they pause, as travelers always do now, to note the long
stretch of water, the beautiful island and the loveliness of the
Androscoggin valley? The arts of civilization have enriched the
scene, but even then the view must have been one long remem-

The facts which led to the settlement of Durham may be
briefly stated, since they have been amply set forth elsewhere.^
In 1620 James I. granted a charter to forty "noblemen, knights
and gentlemen," called the Council of Plymouth. This Council
granted, 16 June 1632, a patent to Thomas Purchase and George
Way of land on both sides of the Androscoggin River, extending
from the mouth in Merrymeeting Bay upward to indefinite
northern limits. Way never lived on the grant, but Purchase
spent many years in Brunswick and probably dwelt for a time
at Lisbon Falls, fishing and trading with the Indians. All
the lands of Purchase and Way were bought by Richard Wharton
in 1683, and the purchase was confirmed and enlarged by deed
given, 7 July 1684, by six Indian chiefs, Warumbee, Darumkine,
Wihikermet, Domhegon, Nehonogasset and Numbenemet. Of
these Warumbee, or Worumbo, was the most important, and is
said by some to have had his fort in Durham, just opposite
Lisbon Falls, but it is quite certain that his fort was the one
above mentioned. The lands purchased of these chiefs extended
to "live miles above the uppermost Falls in Androscoggin
River," and three miles w^est of the river, following its course.
There Avere confiicting claims, especially to the part of this pur-
chase lying between the Androscoggin and Kennebec Rivers.
The case was in litigation for over a century. Various com-
promises w^ere made, and the final adjudication was made by the
Court of Alassachusetts in 18 14.

Wharton died in 1693 in England. Ephraim Savage of Bos-
ton administered his estate and sold, 5 Nov. 1714, for £140, all
these lands of Wharton to Thomas Hutchinson, Adam Winthrop,
John Watts, David Jeffries, Stephen Minot, Oliver Noyes and
John Ruck, all of Boston, and to John Wentworth of Ports-
mouth. These were the original Pejepscot proprietors.- Their
lands embraced the present towns of Lewiston, Greene, a part

^See Wheeler's Hist, of Brunswick.
=York Deeds Book VIII. Fols. 56-8.



of Lisbon, parts of Poland and Minot, Auburn, Durham, Bruns-
wick, Harpswell, Topsham, Bowdoin and a part of Leeds.
According to a survey made by Phineas Jones in 1731, they
comprised about 450,543 acres. The price paid was less than
a cent for six acres. The company claimed also Bowdoinham
and Richmond, but this claim was relinquished. Some wanted
to claim as far up the river as Rumford Falls.

The agent of the Pejepscot Proprietors up to 1731 was Asa
Heath of Brunswick. Then Benjamin Larrabee succeeded him,
and in 1757 Belcher Noyes of Boston was chosen clerk and held
ofifice till his death in 1787. Josiah Little succeeded him and had
much to do with the early settlement of the town.

It is not known just when or by whom it was first proposed
to lay out the new town of Royalston, as Durham was first called.
The earliest mention that has come to my knowledge is in a
deed, given by Belcher Noyes to David Dunning of Brunswick,
dated Nov. 14, 1761. It conveys to said Dunning, for £33, "1-16
of land to be laid out for a new township six miles square, being
part of a tract purchased by Pejepscot proprietors from Ephraim
Savage, administrator of Richard Wharton, Esq., late of Bos-
ton." Stephen Getchell of New Meadows, Brunswick, made a
survey of Royalston in April, 1762. His bill was £22, sS. Noyes
in May, 1762, wrote a letter in which he declares himself sorry
that Getchell was employed, says his previous work has been
found to be erroneous and calls him "a poor, miserable, shuffling
fellow, indebted to every one. "^ It was later found that
Getchell's plan was incorrect, and a new one was made by Joseph
Noyes of Falmouth. His plan was dated 22 May 1766, as an old
deed shows. This also needed correction and John Brown's plan
dates 23 Nov. 1767.-

At a meeting of the proprietors, held in Boston May 28, 1765,
the name of the proposed town was changed by vote from
Royalston to Royalsborough, doubtless because of the incorpora-

^Not too much credit is to be given to Noyes' comments upon persons
associated with him. He seems to have been a Httle soured. Aug. ir,
1770 he wrote to Enoch Freeman thus: " Bagley has greatly imposed
iipoii me and turns out a deceitful fellow; there's no trust to be placed
in him." Again, June 24, 1771, he writes to Freeman, "Dunning has
been all his days a great trespasser and a secret enemy to our interests." —
See Pejepscot Records.

"See deed given to Andrew Pinkham.


tion in 1765, of a town in Massachusetts called Royalston, also
in lionor of Col. Isaac Royal.

The bounds of the proposed town, as set forth in first deeds
given, were "To begin at the Northeast corner of the town of
North Yarmouth, from thence to Androscoggin River, and down
said river to the Northeast corner of the Township of Brunswick,
and on the Northwest line of said Brunswick to extend to North
Yarmouth line, and on said line on a Northwest course to the
forementioned bounds, including land granted to Jonathan
Bagley, Esq." July i, 1766, Bagley transferred the "Gore,"
wliich he had received by grant of the Court of Massachusetts,
to the proprietors, though the agreement so to do must have
been made several years earlier.

June 3, 1767, a division 01 ninety-six lots was made by lot
among the proprietors, sixty-tv;o lots having been reserved, the
sale of which was to be for the encouragement of the settlement.
The ninety-six lots were divided into eight parcels of twelve lots
each. The owners at that time were :

Samuel Waterhouse,

Belcher Noyes,

David Dunning,

Jonathan Bagley,

Moses Little,

Jeremiah Moulton,

Enoch Freeman,

Heirs of I-ydia Skinner,

Gov. Benning Wentworth,

Isaac Royal, Esq. ,

Heirs of Hannah Fairwether,

Heirs of Joseph Wadsworth,

These were the original owners of Durham. Not many of
them figured in the history of the town. Samuel Waterhouse
sold his share to Isaac Royal, who seems to have purchased other
shares also, for in 1796 his heirs were taxed for thirty-four lots,
chiefly in the northwest part of the town. Gov. Wentworth's
share w^as sold by his heir, Michael Wentworth, to Jonathan
Bagley Jan. 7, 1772.

The reader is referred to "A copy of the Plan of Durham as
taken from a plan copied by Jacob Herrick, Jr., from a plan
copied by Joseph M. Gerrish from Capt. Joseph Frye's Plan
copied from Noyes's Original Plan of said Town, laid down by



12 lots.



6 lots.



6 lots.



6 lots.



6 lots.



6 lots.



3 lots.
3 lots.

12 lots.



20 lots.

12 lots.



4 lots.




a scale of 160 Rods to an inch. Durliam, March 27th A. D.,
1833, Ivory Warren." It is evident that the part of Durham as
surveyed by Joseph Noyes of Falmouth and slightly corrected by
John Brown is as it was originally drawn. The southwest corner
called "Bagley's Gore," was not surveyed at that time, but was
surveyed by Amos Davis, ^ as an old deed shows, probably in
1781. In O. Israel Bagley's Account Book is the following
entry: "Orlando Bagiey, Det. 1781, to vittles and drink when
his men was a running out the goor. " This Amos Davis was
the same man who about this time surveyed Bakerstown, now
Poland. Bagley's Gore, as drawn in this Plan, must be as it was
about 1780. John Cushmg received the deed for his 500 acres
in 1786, his wife having received it in the will of her late father,
Jonathan Bagiey, in 1780. Ichabod March of Amesbury, Mass.,
purchased 5 Oct. 1775, thirty acres of the northeasterly side of the
Gore, marked "March" on the Plan. Weed's 100 acres were
bought by Joshua Weed of Amesbury, 25 Dec. 1780, and sold
to Josiah Burnham, 15 Feb. 1791. Levi W^ells was doubtless a
relative of the wife of Jonathan Bagiey. There is no evidence
that he ever lived in Royalsborough. "Morrill's 80 acres" were
bought by Archilaus Morrill of Col. Bagiey, and sold by Green
Morrill to William True, Sept. 3, 1785. "Jos. Noyes's 800
acres" were bought by him in 1766. He knew, as surveyor,
where the meadow land lay and chose as good as there was in
the new township. He was a prominent man in the history of
Portland, born Sept. 14, 1740, died Oct. 13, 1795. He was town
Treasurer, Selectman and member of Mass. Gen. Court.
" Front's Gore" was granted to Timothy Prout in 1737. It was
claimed, at least the corner of it that appears on this map, by
both Durham and Freeport. While the question was in dispute
the Selectmen of the two towns agreed that the "Quaker Road"
mentioned in a deed as early as 1779, should be the dividing line
between the towns for purposes of taxation.

The original plan of a town six miles square was modified
greatly. Thompsonsborough and Little River Plantation, after-
wards united into Lisbon, got the east side of the Androscoggin.

Wmos Davis, born May 12, 1741, in Gloucester, Mass., moved from
New Gloucester to Lewislon in 1774, He was a farmer, surveyor and
shoe-maker. He died 20 March 1815, leaving four sons and a daughter.
He was a leading member of the Friends' Society.


Freeport got the corner called Front's Gore. The northwest
corner, two miles and twenty-one rods by eighty-six rods was
set off to New Gloucester. The northern boundary was at first
a few rods north of where it is now. About 1804 it was moved
up to the northern limit of Dingley's (now Orin Libby's) farm,
and in 181 5 brought back to its present position. These changes
leave a few rods of the northern tier of lots in the present city
of Auburn, the southern part of which was formerly called
"Fejepscot Gore."

March 3, 1768, the proprietors held a meeting in Boston and
appointed Jonathan Bagley, Moses Little and Belcher Noyes a
committee to '"bring forward the settlement of said New Town-
ship and to procure Settlers." and Belcher Noyes was empow-
ered to execute deeds to the settlers. The first deeds were
executed Nov. 12, 1770. It is certain that some of the purchasers
had already been living on their lots several years, and some not
mentioned in the list of original purchasers were settlers in
Royalsborough earlier than 1776, as Josiah Day, Josiah Dunn,.
John Getchell, Ezekiel Jones, Batchelder Ring, Hugh and
Robert Getchell. Charles Hill, John and Stephen Randall,
Edmund Lane, Joseph and Samuel York, Joshua Babb, Eben-
ezer Roberts, Benjamin Vining, Elias Davis, John Hoyt, Judah
Chandler, Thomas Fearson, Micah and David Dyer, Jonathan
Armstrong, Hugh Marwick, John Farker, Samuel Smith,
Orlando Bagley, O. Israel Bagley.


All the following were of Royalsborough except Jonathan
Bagley of Amesbury, Mass. The price paid for most of the lots
was 13 pounds 6 shillings and 8 pence. Nos. 4, 28, 32, and 72
cost 26 pounds 13 shillings and 4 pence. Lots 58 and 83 were
valued at 30 pounds.

Lot. Name. Date.

5 Stephen Chase, Nov. 12, 1770.

12 John Bliffin, ''

13 John Dean, Jr., "
15 Nathaniel Gerrish,

17 Stephen Hart,

18 Caleb Estes,


31 Charles Gerrish, Jr., Nov. 12, 1770.
53 Phineas Frost, "

57 Charles Gerrish, "
104 Nathan Lewis, "

6 Edward Estes, June 10, 1771.
14 Patrick Welch,

16 Samuel Clongh, "

58 Jonathan Bagley, "

83 '• " Dec. 7, 1771.

2 Thomas Coffin, Dec. 10, 1771.
4 Noah Jones, "

33 William Gerrish, "

67 John Dean (or Dain) "

3 Joseph Estes, Dec. 10, 1776.
28 Cornelins Douglas, "

19 Samuel Green, "

32 A'incent Roberts, "
38 Stephen Weston, "
69 John Gushing, "

yz Ichabod Frost, " '

24, 29, 41, 46, 49, and 59 were deeded, Dec. 10. 1776, to

Joseph No} es of Falmouth for services as Surveyor of the Town-

Rachael Cobb,^ widow of Ebenezer, and Lemuel Sawyer of
Cape Elizabeth, purchased lot 103, Dec. 12, 1777.

^Married in Cape Elizabeth 22 Nov. 1770, Ebenezer Cobb, Jr. and
Rachel Sawyer.




The reader will here wish to know something about the
lives and character of the founders and first settlers of the town.
Much will be said in the chapter on Genealogical History. Here
only a few persons can be mentioned. The early settlers were
not the olTcasts of Europe, but were descendants from the best
families of England, Scotland and Ireland. Their lineages can
be traced, in most cases, back to the earliest settlers of Mass.
and the coast towns of York and Cumberland Counties,
and not a few clear back to the Norman Conquest. Col. Bagley
brought many of his neighbors from Amesbury and adjacent
towns. North Yarmouth and Harpswell furnished a good num-
ber, and after the Revolution Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough
poured in a large colony, especially into the northwest part of
the town. They were men of sterling character, honest, indus-
trious, intelligent, religious and patriotic, in short, men of hard
muscle and sense.

GEN. ISAAC ROYALL, for whom the plantation of Royals-
borough was named, was descended from "William Ryall
Cooper and Cleever of Tymber," who settled at Salem about
1629. As early as 1635 he was at Casco Bay. March 27, 1643,
he bought of Sir Ferdinando Gorges 250 acres and an island of
30 acres, confirming his title three years later by purchasing the
same of a rival claimant. Col. Alexander Rigby. His house had
already been built on the south side of Royall's River, near its
mouth, in North Yarmouth. He married Phebe Green and died
at Dorchester, Mass., 15 June 1675. His son William died there
7 Nov. 1724, aged 85 years. William's oldest son, Isaac, was
born in North Yarmouth in 1672 and married, i July 1697, Eliza-
beth, daughter of Asaph Eliot and widow of one Oliver. He
resided for forty years at Antigua, W. I., carrying on trade
between that place and Boston. He purchased, 26 Dec. 1732,
of the heirs of Lieut.-Gov. Usher, an estate of 500 acres in Med-
ford, Mass. The house, still standing, was built by Usher and
remodeled and enlarged by Royal, and was one of the most


elegant residences of the time in the suburbs of Boston. It was
once the headquarters of Gen. Washington. Isaac Royall died
at Medford 7 June, 1739.

Isaac, Jr., his only son, was probably born at Antigua about
1719. He married ^J \lzxz\i 1738, Elizabeth Mcintosh. He
was made Brig.-Gen. in 1761, the first American to bear that
title. He was a Councillor of the Province from 1751 to 1774.
April 16, 1775 three days before the battle of Lexington, he left
Medford for parts unknown. He sought at Salem passage to
Antigua, but failing in this he sailed to Halifax, where he lingered
about a year, hoping that the War would be ended. His sympa-
thies were with the Colonies, yet he was afraid to break with
England, resign his offtce and endanger his estates. He had
received grants of land under the Crown. He owned large
tracts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well as in Maine.
In May 1776 he sailed to England. A daughter, the wife of the
second Sir William Pepperell of Kittery, sailed with him and
died on the passage. He wnote from Halifax to his agent in Med-
ford, giving him instruction concerning his slaves : "Stephen and
George might be sold for £50, Hagar for £30, Mira for £25. As
to Betsey and her daughter Nancy, the former may tarry or take
her freedom as she may choose, and Nancy you may put out
to some good family by the year." He added "I shall leave
North America with great reluctance, but my health and business
require it ; and I hope through the goodness of God, if my life
is spared, to be able to return again soon." He took up his
abode in Kensington, Middlesex, where he died of small-pox, 16
Oct. 1 78 1. He was buried at Froyle, Hampshire, Eng.

His property was confiscated in 1778 but was restored to his

Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of Durham, Maine; → online text (page 1 of 28)