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Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.

History of Durham, Maine; online

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school. This was the only business transacted.

At the second town meeting Major Charles Gerrish was
moderator, Mr. Dunn having refused to serve. Other modera-
tors before the incorporation of Durham were Jonathan Bagley,
Jonathan Armstrong,^ O. Israel Bagley, Ebenezer Newell and
John Gushing, Esq. The meetings were held at the houses of
O. Israel Bagley, John Dain, Nathaniel Gerrish and William
McGray, until 1780, after which date they were held at the
school house built on Benj. V'ining's land. From the incorpora-

^Josiah Dunn, from Falmouth, Oct. 28 1771, bought of Thomas Cofifin
lot 55 in Royalsborough Nov. 25, 1777, he sold fifty acres of this to
Nathaniel Gerrish. Nothing more is known of him in Durham. A
Josiah Dunn bought 134 acres in Poland Oct. 15, 1778. It is an easy
inference that the josiah Dunn of Royalsborough was the ancestor of the
Dunns of Poland, Waterville and Auburn. He came from England with
a brother Nathaniel and first settled in Falmouth. He died in Poland
about 1825, aged 93 years.

A Josiah Dunn was taxed in Durham in 1802, but this tax may have
been for the unsold fifty acres. A Revolutionary soldier, Joshua Dunn
01 Royalsborough, afterwards was a pensioner living in Phillips, Me.

'Charles Hill, Esq., was clerk of Royalsborough 1774-7. His wife's
name was Sarah. They had two children born in Royalsborough,
George, 4 Mch. 1774 and Amos Adams, 20 Feb. 1778. Charles Hill sold
lot 66 to Ebenezer Newell, 8 June 1779, for 1000 pounds. He then
disappeared from Durham history.

'Jonathan Armstrong, mariner, of Falmouth married Lydia Flint of
Harpswell April 9, 1767. He bought, Dec. i, 1775, of Samuel Green, half
of lot 19; and Feb. 6, 1779 he bought a lot of Thomas Pearson and sold
it in 1781. The name soon disappeared in Durham.



ORGANIZATION AND INCORPORATION 21

tion of Durham in 1789 till the building of the Town House in
1840 all the town meetings were held at the old North Meeting
House.

The proceedings of the early town meetings had to do with
roads, schools and the church, and so have been arranged in
chapters treating of those subjects.

Oct. 8, 1783, it was voted that "all the Sleds in this town
Shall Bee four feet Beten goints and any man in this town Be
found Sleding with a Sled of Less weadth than that a Bove
mentioned Shall Be Liabel to fine of twenty Shillings fine."

In 1782 the warrant for town meeting included, "to see if the
inhabitants of this Plantation will Petition to the General Court
to have it incorporated in to a Township acording to the Desier
of the Proprietors allso to alter the Name of Said Plantation
also Petition To Sad Cort for the Laws of this Common welth."
In 1784 and again in 1786 the town voted not to be incorporated.
The records for 1787-8 are lost. However, a petition, dated
Feb. 4, 1788, was sent to the General Court, asking for incor-
poration under the name of Sharon, or Bristol. The petition,
which treats largely of matters pertaining to the Revolutionary
War, is here given.

To the Honourable the Senate and House of Representatives
of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in General Court
assembled : —

The petition of the Inhabitants of a Plantation Called Royals-
borough in the County of Cumberland, humbly showeth — That
yovir Petitioners being settled on a tract of Land in the Pejepscot
Claim, So called, adjoining the rear line of Brunswick, lying on
the Westerly side and adjoining the Androscoggin River, In the
said County, were early called upon when there were but few
families In tiie place to furnish a quantity of clothing for the
^Vrmy which we were exceedingly unable to comply wdth, at that
Infant period of our settling in the Wilderness, not having where-
withal to cloath ourselves and families In such Manner as to be
any ways comfortable In the Winter season. But from a Hearty
Desire to lend every aid and assistance In our Power toward
carrying on the War, We did by uncommon exertion procure by
one means or other all that we w^ere called upon for at that time,
and have regularly paid our taxes provided our part of the
cloathing and procured all the soldiers we have been called upon
for from time to time except one single man from the year 1778
viz In the year 1779 we paid the Sum of thirteen hundred and
sixty-five pounds twelve shilings and four pence and another
Tax of the Same Sum and in the year 1780 we paid four Taxes,



22 HISTORY OF DURHAM

viz one of two thousand six hundred and eighty-three pounds
six shillings and eight pence and another of the same sum, with
a Beef Tax of one Thousand six hundred and fifty pounds, also
a Hard Money Tax of Thirty-four pounds and for the year 1781
we paid eighty eight pounds fourteen shillings and eight pence
and two hundred and forty Seven pounds ten shillings and for
the year 1782 we paid the Sum of one hundred and six pounds
and sixteen shillings and five pence toward raising soldiers and
sixty two pounds six shillings and two pence for the same
purpose. Also a Beef Tax of the Sum of fifty four pounds and
sixteen shillings and four pence which sum amounted to a great
deal more than any other Plantation In this county have paid,
tho some are much more able than we.

But Tax bills have still been to us which, from the great
difficulties and straits we have been put to ; In paying the above
mentioned Sums and the charges we have been at ; In clearing
roads building and maintaining a great many Bridges added to
the Barrenness of a great part of our Land and the Poverty of
the People, cannot at present be paid by any means in our
Power. We therefore pray that our Delinquent Taxes may be
taken off (Which we are rather encouraged to expect from the
Kindness shown to other Plantations around us In as good
circumstances as we are whose Taxes have been Abated In
whole or In Part upon application being made for that purpose)
and being arrived to the number of about seventy families and
desirous of being Incorporated Into a Township by the name of
Sharon that we may be In a capacity of enjoying those Civil
and Religious Privileges which other Towns enjoy, which if
rightly Improved will make us a happy people. The bounds
of the Town are as follows : Beginning at the N. E. Corner of
Brunswick thence running a South West course to North Yar-
mouth line, thence running a N. W. course seven miles and forty
Rods, thence on a N. E. course about four miles to Androscog-
gin River, then down said River to the said N. E. Cor. of Bruns-
wick first mentioned. Also we further pray that a committee
from the General Court may be sent to take a View of our Cir-
cumstances that the Honorable Court may be the better satisfied
of the reasonableness of this our request and your Petitioners as
In duty bound shall ever pray.

Royalsborough, Feb. 4th, 1788.

JOHN CUSHING,

ISRAEL BAGLEY,

E. NEWELL, Committee.

JOSHUA STROUT,

JONATHAN CURRIER.

N. B. if there shall be any other Town In this County by
the Name of Sharon, Our desire is that ours may be called
Bristol.



ORGANIZATION AND INCORPORATION 23

The town was incorporated 17 Feb. 1789, with a population
estimated at 700. The petition states that there were seventy
famihes. Ten persons to a family is not too high an estimate
for those days, as the chapter on Genealogy will show. Notice
that in 1778 there were only forty-nine families. The name
given to the new town was Durham. Why it was so named no
one has yet told, though, doubtless it was suggested by the
Durham of old England. The reason sometimes assigned has
been shown in a previous chapter to be fallacious. The Act of
Incorporation is as follows : —

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.

In the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and
eighty nine.

An act to incorporate the Plantation called Royalsborough
in the County of Cumberland into a town by the name of
Durham.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in
General Court assembled and by the authority of the same that
all the lands of Royalsborough aforesaid bounded as follows viz
beginning at the westerly corner of a tract of land called Prouts
Gore in the line of North Yarmouth thence north west seven
miles adjoining said North Yarmouth thence north east to
Androscoggin river thence South easterly by the middle of said
river to the head line of Brunswick thence South westerly adjoin-
ing the head line of Brunswick and said Prouts Gore to the first
mentioned bounds with the inhabitants thereon be and hereby
are incorporated into a town by the name of Durham and
invested with all the powers, privileges and immunities that
towns in this Commonwealth do or may by law enjoy.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that
Samuel Merrill Esq. be and he is impowered and required to
issue his Warrant to some principal inhabitant of Said town of
Durham directing him to warn the Inhabitants thereof to assem-
ble at some convenient time and place in said town, to choose
all such ofttcers as by law are to be chosen annually in the
months of March or April.

In the House of Representatives Feb. 16, 1789.

This bill having had three several readings passed to be

^"^^^^^' William Heath, Speakr.

In Senate Feb. 17th 1789.
This bill having had two several readings passed to be

^"^c^^^- Sam'l Phillips, V. President.

Approved John Hancock

A true copy Attest.

John Avery, Jr., Secy.



24 HISTORY OF DURHAM

The first town meeting of Durham was held March 17, 1789.
Samuel Merrill Esq., was moderator, Ebenezer Newell, clerk ;
John Gushing Esq., Lieut. Nathaniel Gerrish and Thomas Fisher
Selectmen.

May 4, 1 79 1, the town voted 21 to o that the " Destrict of
Main be Set off into a Separate State." May 7, 1792, another
vote was taken on the same proposition and there were 11 yeas
to 20 nays. April 7, 1807, the vote on same proposition stood
6 yeas to 113 nays. The agitation continued and May 20, 1816,
the vote was 45 for separation and 54 against. Another vote
was taken Sept. 2 of the same year resulting in 55 yeas to 92
nays. Notwithstanding all this opposition the separation took
place in 1820.

It seems that no one could settle in the town without permis-
sion. The following, found on the Town Records, will interest
many : — -»

Gumberland Ss. to Benjamin Vining Gonstable for the said

Town of Durham Greeting.

You are in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
directed To warn, and give notice unto Samuel Jordan, Jedediah
Jordan, Daniel Roberson, Paul Dyer of Cape Elizabeth. . . .John

Stackpoie, Jeremiah Smith, James Johnson of Harpswell, Daniel
Harmon of Standish, Elias Davis of Bakerstown, Ezekiel Turner
of Freeport, and Samuel Proctor of Falmouth, Labourers in the
Tov,'n of Durham and County of Cumberland, Which above
named persons, has lately come into this Town for the Purpose
of abiding therein, not having obtained the Towns consent.
Therefore that they depart the Limits thereof. With their
Children And others under their care, if any they have, within
fifteen days. And of this precept, with your doings thereon,
you are to make Return into the office of the Town, within
Twenty days next Coming, that such further proceedings may
be had in the premises. As the Law Directs ........ Given under

our hands and Seal, at Durham aforesaid this 25 day February
A. D. 1793. Nathaniel Garish, Select-

Aaron Osgood, men.

Attest, Martin Rourk, Tov/n Clerk

Pursuant to the within Warrant, I have warned those persons
within mentioned To Depart the Limits of the Town, As soon
as may be, or within fifteen days, from the date thereof.
Benjamin Vining, Constable.

A true copy, Martin Rourk. T. Clerk.

Durham, March ye 14, 1793.



ORGANIZATION AND INCORPORATION 25

In similar manner John Hibbard and family and James Hib-
bard and " Nethanel Merril and now wife of Gofftown in the
County of Hillsborough Labourer and Betty B. Merrill Single
woman of the Same Town " were warned out of town in 1791.
There is no evidence of their departure, and some of them
became honored citizens. They probably complied with the
legal formalities.

There was much dispute between the first settlers and the
Pejepscot Proprietors. Many seem to have been squatters. For
their contentment the Mass. Court passed a " Betterment Act "
in 1798 so that settlers could not be ousted without payment for
improvements made. Under this act Nathaniel Dummer, John
Lord and Ichabod Goodwin, Esquires, wxre appointed Com-
missioners to survey the lands in dispute and adjust the claims.
They fixed a price for each farm, on payment of which the Pro-
prietors were under legal obligation to give a deed to the
settlers. The report of the commissioners was submitted to Gov.
Caleb Strong July 12, 1804. It is here given so far as it pertains
to Durham. The original is in the Mass. Archives. I have cor-
rected the spelling.

Names of Settlers. No.

William McKenny,
Heirs of Nathaniel Gerrish,
Thomas Lambert,
Micah Dyer and Nathaniel Merrill,
Samuel Mitchell,
Isaac Lambert,
Gideon Bragdon,
Robert Hunnewell,
Jonathan Libby,
John Larrabee,.
William Blake,

Daniel Robinson, Richard Mitchell,
job Larrabee,
Magnus Ridlon,

Chas. Kelley and Nath'l Wilbur,
Elisha Douglas,
Thomas Larrabee,
Amos Parker,
Ephraim Bragdon,
Daniel Harmon N. E. half,
Zebulon York,
Joshua Fickett,



of Lot.


Acres.


Value.


139


100


$97.60




77


82.23




25


47-50


79


35


59-92


90


48i


92-15


90


461


88.35


115


100


92.80


136


50


58.80


158


100


97.60


134


100


92.80


123


100


103.20


92


100


1 14.00


137


100


128.60


112


100


135-60


133


100


139.20


117


100


132.00


140


100


146.40


122


100


142.80


116


100


88.00


127


50


52.00


146


100


59.20


156


100


146.40



26 HISTORY OF DURHAM



William Thomas, N. E. half,

Daniel True,

Ebenezer Bragdon,

John Hoyt and Isaac Davis,

Jonathan Bragdon,

James Parker and William Wilson,

Andrew Adams,

Nath'l Gerrish, So. half,

James Hibbard,

Christopher Tracy,

John Vining, So. half,

James Blethen,

Jacob Sawyer,

Joseph Knight,

David Grossman,

Jonathan Beal,

Solomon Tracy, Nath'l Getchell,

Bela Vining, N. E. half,



lOI


50


$95.20


119


100


142.80


108


100


176.00


124


100


94.40


131


100


95.20


64


100


85.00


58


100


99.60


7Z


50


95.20


77


100


132.80


78


100


123.20


75


50


60.60


62


100


128.00


109


100


124.80


60


100


118.40


22 &23


100


80.80


61


100


132.80


47


100


70.80


65


50


20.00



ROADS, FERRIES, AND BRIDGES 27



IV.

ROADS, FERRIES, AND BRIDGES

It is certain that lumber roads existed in different parts of
Royalsborough before its settlement. Ship-builders in North
Yarmouth and Freeport, then called Harrisicket, penetrated into
the township for masts and timber. June 26, 1766, the Proprie-
tors chose Jonathan Bagley and Moses Little a " committee to
lay out a road and build a log house in Royalsborough for
accommodation of the settlement." This implies that there were
settlers in the town at that date. They doubtless reached their
homes by means of the old logging roads.

Traces may still be seen of an old mast road that led from
the " Great Meadow Pond " southwesterly to the County Road.
It is related of Corneliv:s Douglas that some time before 1770 he
with other young men went from Harpswell twenty-five miles
into the interior in search of grass. They found a small tract
of land clear of timber, where the beavers had formerly built a
dam across a small stream overflowing several acres. The dam.
had been partially torn away by hauling masts over it, which
drained the meadow, causing the wild grass to grow in great
abundance. These young men cut and stacked a supply of this ;
then retracing their steps, guided only by spotted trees, they
returned home, reaching there late in autumn. They then pro-
vided themselves with the necessary articles for camp life, drove
their father's cattle to their newly discovered territory, where
they built a rude camp for themselves and a hovel for the cattle.
They spent their time in tending the stock and making baskets ;
thus the winter passed quite pleasantly. It was by these fre-
quent visits to the back woods, that Cornelius chose his future
home.^

The place referred to was the Great Meadow Pond, in the
southern part of the town, whose outlet into the Androscoggin
river was " Joseph Noyes's River Brook," so called on the Town

'See the Douglas Genealogy by J. Lufkin Douglas, p. 29.



28 HISTORY OF DURHAM

Records. Here was an ancient saw-mill, and a road ran there-
from across Snow's farm and just above the point where the
road from Methodist Corner joins the Biatnswick road and so on
back of the old Gerrish house, where A. True Osgood recently
lived, to connect with the County Road near the Freeport line.
The road has probably not been used for a century, but it was
the oldest road in Durham. It was the existence of this logging
road that led Major Charles Gerrish to build his house where
he did. ■* The path that goes to Capt. Gerrish's " from the
County Road is mentioned in 1775, in the Town Records. That
path is still in existence as a private road.

About the same time there must have been a rough road
from the Mast Landing at Harrisicket to South West Bend. A
petition, dated Oct. 3, 1769, for a County Road, is on record
at the County Commissioners' Office in Portland. It was
signed by Enoch Freeman, Jonathan Bagley, Joshua P'reeman,
Jr., Daniel Ilsley, Qbediah Berry, and John Robinson. The
comm.ittee appointed to run out the road consisted of Ephraim
Jones, Joshua Freeman, Jr., Daniel Ilsley, Peter Noyes and Benj.
Humphrey. The survey was made by Ephraim Jones. Their
report is dated Oct. 23, 1770. It mentions an accompanying
" plan," which is thought to have been lost when the British
bombarded and burned Falmouth m 1776. A good copy of it
was made, however, by Jonathan Bagley for the Proprietors'
clerk, which is still preserved among the Pejepscot Records.

The road as surveyed began '" at a brook about 60 rods below
the middle of the South west Bend of Androscoggin River."
This is marked on the plan as a Trout Brook. It was afterward
known as Dyer's Brook, from the fact that it ran through Micah
Dyer's farm. The road ran up along the river bank a short
distance and then turned toward the south and followed its
present course. A mile and twenty rods from the river it
crossed the same '' Trout Brook " and soon came to Thomas
'■ Coffin s^ cleared land " on the easterly side. Just beyond was

^Oct. 28, 1771, Coffin sold this lot, No. 5S> to Josiah Dunn, who sold
half of it to Nathaniel Gerrish in 1777. The Records of Royalsborough
tell us that March 25, 1776, the town voted " that there be liberty to
Erect a gate across the County Road below Capt. Dunn's at the bridge."'
This bridge must have been over the Trout Brook mentioned above,
afterward called Dyer's Brook. The gate was, probably, to prevent from
straying too far the hogs, sheep and cattle that ran at large. Thomas
Cofhn took a deed of lot No. 2 Dec. 10, 1771, but did not long remain in



ROADS, FERRIES, AND BRIDGES 29

marked the distance of tvvo miles from the river. Then came
Phincas "Frost's cleared land" on the westerly side, and a little
further on, and on the west side, "Ezra (O. Israel) Bagley's
Frame and cleared land, and the middle of the road is six rods
to the Northward of said Frame." Just beyond and on the same
side of the road the surveyors came to Thomas Pearson's
cleared land," and then was reached the mark indicating three
miles from the river. Next on the easterly side was "Vallentine
Bagley's cleared land," and then they came, on the opposite
side of the road, to "the south corner of Orlander Bagley's
cleared land to a beach tree marked 4 miles." Then came
cleared land of Col. Bagley and the "North Yarmouth line," five
miles from the river. The road then passed over Bagley's
"Bridge at the east branch of Royall's River, and so on to
the line between Moses Morrill and Jonathan Griffin." A little
further on the road ran "abreast of the dividing line between
Joseph and Joshua Mitchell" and so on "to a road between
Joseph Mitchell and Dennison's land." This was the road to
Brunswick built in 171 7. Then the County Road passed
through Dennison's land "to Benjamin Rackley's land" and
" down to the point of Mitchell's landing," ^ known afterward
as Porter's Landing. The Survey is of great interest as showing
who lived along this road in 1770-

This road was the highway of commerce for many years.
Along it goods were hauled to South West Bend, then rowed
up the river, hauled around Dresser's Rips, and so on to Lewis-
ton and regions beyond. This was the route by which Lawrence
Harris carried his goods to Levviston in 177 1. O. Israel Bagley
records that he bi ought the iron work for Josiah Little's mill at
Lewiston from Harrisicket along this road in 1783. Here were
the earliest settlements. About midway between the North
Yarmouth line and the river was for twenty years the business
center of the town. Ffere the church was built. Near by was
the first school-house. Here O. Israel Bagley kept the first
store and public house. There were at least two potash manu-
factories, one belonging to Bagley, the other to John Dow.

town. A Thomas Coffin married Mary Fogg in Freeport Aug. 29, 1770.
Their eleven children are recorded in the Town Records of Freeport.
It is, doubtless, the same man above mentioned.

^See Pejepscot Records, Vol. VIII. 69.



30



HISTORY OE DURHAM



The transportation of goods from S. W. Bend to Lewiston
by water was not sufficiently easy and expeditious. For this
reason, and to open up new land for settlement, O. Israel Bagley
was employed by the Proprietors in 1781 to build the river road
" from South West Bend to the Line of Royalsborough." It
was continued all the way to what is nOw the City of Auburn.
The bill of settlement is still preserved and is here given in full.



''Dr Cap. O. Israel Bagley
To 22y'^ Cotton ((^2/8 £30.
To 2o6tb Sugar @ /yf
To 15 gallons N. E.

Rum @ 5/
To 10 Silk Hankerchiefs
To 4 yd Silk @ 16/
To 4 Silk Hankerchiefs
To 16 yd Duch Lace



.30.


5-


4


8.


4-


[O


3-


15-





5 2.


,14.





3-


4-





I.


4-





0.


17.






£50: 4: 2



Royalsborough April 10, 1784
then Ballanced all accounts as
witnis my hand

Josiah Little



To Josiah Little Cr. 1781.
By 184 Day work on
the Rode from the
South west Bend to
the Line of Royal
Bourough Clearing
Rodes & Building
Bridges @ 4/ 36.16.

By 8 Day my Self in
overseeing the

workmen (ai 4/ 1.12.

By Paying your

fathers ord M. Dyer 2. 8. o
By 6m Shingles @ 9/4 2.16. o
Bv 5m Shingles (cv 9/4 2. 6. 8
By 6i Hundred Clab-

boards @ 4/ i. 8. o

By your Paying

freight 0:11. o

By 10 Days work on
the Bridge over the
Little Androscog-
gin River 2. o. o



£49:17: 8
By cash to Ballance o. 6. 6



£50. 4. 2

This road began at the end of the County Road and followed
the bank of the river. It has since been moved back over the
hill by the Union Church at S. W. Bend in 1828 ; also
at Garcelon's or Dingley's Ferry and along by James Wagg's in
South Auburn. At all these points the old road was on the
river bank. In O. Israel Bagley 's account book there is an
interesting entry connected with the building of this road. It
reads thus : " Went to work upon Luestown Royd October 4,




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br


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o


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o




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O


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P


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EH


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ROADS, FERRIES, AND BRIDGES 3 I

1781." Then follow the names of the men employed and the
number of days each worked. Major Charles Gerrish 8 days :
William Gerrish 10: Charles Gerrish i: George Gerrish i:
Ezekiel Jones 9: Simeon Sanborn 17: John Blake 7: " Wilan "
Deans 8: John Randall 31 : O. Israel Bagley 25 : John Deans i :
John Farr i : Lemuel AIcGray 4: Benjamin Vining 23: Pelatiah
Warren 17: Nathaniel Gerrish 5: Stephen Weston 2: Ebenezer
Roberts 4: Samuel Green 7: Samuel Ray 3.

This road built by Bagley for the Proprietors was afterward
laid out as a County Road by the following Commissioners :
John Lewis, David Mitchell, Samuel Merrill, Isaac Parsons and
William Widgery, Esq. Their report is dated Oct. 17, 1791.
The survey began at the " Turner Road," a little below Hildreth's
Ferry, just south of the mouth of the Little Androscoggin River,



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