George Folsom.

History of Saco and Biddeford, with notices of other early settlements, and of the proprietary governments, in Maine, including the provinces of New Somersetshire and Lygonia online

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Ticonderoga, 1776. John Hill, a brother of Capt. Hill,
died of small pox at Brooklyn Fort, Long Island, the
same year, where a grave stone was erected to his me-
mory. He was twenty two years of age at the time of
his death. Jotham Hill, (son to Mr. Ebenezer Hill,) died
in the course of the war near Albany. John Peirce,
lived at Limerick after the war. Aaron Gray, lately de-
ceased, a pensioner under the act of 1818. Noah Smith.
James Urian. Ezekiel Gillpatrick. John Griffin Davis.
Samuel Gillpatrick. Nath'l. Gillpatrick. Caleb Spofford,
died in the war. John Lee. Joseph Linscott. William

*The following lines fVirnished by the late Hon. Cyrus King, are
inscribed on his tomb : "A man of infinite jest ; of most excellent
fancy." 'This stone to strangers may impart

The place where Scamman lies;
But every friend consults his heart.
For there he never dies.'


Haley. James Pratt. Sylvanus Knox. Stephen Fletcher.
Joshua McLucas, died in the war. John Haley, died at
Mt. Independence. Josiah Davis. The present survi-
vors are the following : Col. John Smith, now of Hollis,
a militia officer since the war. Jeremiah Bettis, living at
Little river, in the lower part of Biddeford, where he
possesses a handsome estate. Ralph Emery. Philip
Goldthwaite, keeper of the lighthouse on Wood island,
Pelatiah Moore. Jos. Staples. Dorainicus Smith. Benj.
Goodridge. Joseph Hanscomb, now of Buxton.

From Pepperrellboro' (now Saco,) the following per-
sons were in the continental service at some period of the
war. John Googins, killed in the action at Hubbards-
town, July 7, 1777, the day after the evacuation of Ti-
conderoga by the American troops. John was in the rear
guard commanded by Cul. Francis, a very gallant officer,
who fell in the same engagement. Stephen Sawyer, son
of David Sawyer, sen., died in the army. John Hoo-
per, died during the war at Boston. Abiel Beetle, Nicho-
las Davis, Jonathan Norton, Daniel Bryant, James Scam-
man, son of Mr. Ebenezer Scamman, John Tucker,
John Runnels, John Ridlon, John Carll, Eben. Carll,
Evans Carll, William Carll, (sons of Mr. Robert Carll ;
the name was often written Kearl.) Levi Foss, Pelatiah
Foss ; the last fell at Ticonderoga ; sons of Mr. Walter
Foss. Zechariah Foss, Elias Foss, sons of Mr. Joseph
Foss. John Duren. Anthony Starbird. William Star-
bird, died in the army. William Berry. James Evans.
Samuel Sebastian, died on North river. Joseph Norton.
Maj. Stephen Bryant, an officer in the militia since the
war. Josiah Davis. Joseph Richards. Those now liv-
ing .are : Ephraim Ridlon, Stephen Googins, who enlis-
ted for the year 1776, and were in the company of Capt.
Watkins, under Col. Edmund Phinney of Gorham.
Ephraim enlisted again 1777, in Col. John Crane's regi-
ment of artillery, and was gone three years, two of which
he was waiter to Gen. Knox. Thomas Means, under
Capt. Hart Williams, regiment of Col. Phinney. Solo-
mon Hopkins. James Edgecomb. Solomon Libby.

A company was raised Feb. 1776, for a short term of
service, from Buxton, Arundel, Biddeford, and Pepper-

9 I


rellboro% commanded by Capt. John Elden, of Buxton.
The other officers were, 1st Lieut. Amos Towne, of
Arundel ; 2d Lieut. Samuel Scamman (late deacon) ;
Ensign Jeremiah Cole, of Biddeford. The subordinate
officers and privates from Biddeford were the following :
Moses Bradbury, John Poak, Elijah Littlefield, Peirce
Bickford, Phineas Mclntire, Thos. Gillpatrick, William
Nason, John Chase, (now of Saco,) Jona. Stickney,
Humphry Dyer, Jacob Townsend, Timothy Cole, Jede-
diah Smith, Eliakim Tarbox, Jona. Smith, John Gillpat-
rick, Chris. Gillpatrick, Dodivah Bickford, Benj. Wood-
man. From Pepperrellboro'; Jerathuel Bryant, John
Muchemore, Daniel Field, David Clark, Abner Sawyer,
Joseph Norton, Andrew Patterson, David Sawyer, jr.
James Edgecomb, Robert Bond, Daniel Field jr., Abra*
ham Patterson, Moses Ayer, John Young, Hezekiah
Young, Joseph Patterson, Wm. p. Moody, Samuel Den-
net, John Scamman, Samuel Lowell. The conipany be-
longed to the regiment of militia under Col. Lemuel
Robinson. Altho' gone but about two months, they as-
sisted in the very important and admirably executed ser-
vice, of fortifying Dorchester heights on the night of!
March 4. Dr. Thacher, who was in a relief party or-
dered on the ground the next morning, arrived there at
the early hour of 4, when, he says, "we found two forts
in considerable forwardness, and sufficient for a defence
against small arms and grape shot. The amount of la-
bor performed during the night, considering the earth is
frozen eighteen inches deep, is almost incredible. The
enemy having discovered our works in the morning, com-
menced a tremendous cannonade from the forts in Bos-
ton, and from their shipping in the harbor. Cannon shot
are continually rolling and rebounding over the hill, and
it is astonishinji; to observe how little our troops are terri-
fied by them."*

Several privateers were fitted out from the river during
the war. The Thrasher, commanded by Capt. Benj.
Cole, performed two or three cruises, but without accom-
plishing]; much. The vessel is said to have been partly

"Military Journal. 47.


owned in Salem. Mr. Elisha Ayer built a cutter on
Main street, near the Thornton house, for Mr. Gray, of
Salem ; she was manned here for the first cruise. Others
were fitted out at different times, by Col. Morrill and Dr.
Fairfield. A few prizes were taken by them on the eas-
tern coast, but of little value.

To this list of revolutionary worthies, we add the
names of those citizens who were engaged in the war,
and have since settled in the towns. Seih Spring, Esq.
was in the battle of Bunker hill, and continued three
years in the service. He came to Biddeford about 1780.
Hon. Joseph Leland was . also at Bunker hill in a
company from Grafton, Mass. being at that time eighteen
years of age. Mr. Leland reiYisiriCd in the army through
the war, having received the commission of ensign at
twenty, and afterwards that of lieutenant. He came to
this town soon after the peace. Daniel Granger, Esq.
from Andover, Mass. was a short time in the continental
service. Deacon Samuel Woodsum was taken prisoner
by a party of Indians under Brandt, in New York, and
was sent to Canada, where he remained until peace took
place. In 1783, deacon Woodsum bought a piece of
wild land in the corner of the town, adjoining the river
and Buxton line, now a very excellent farm. Mr. Ben-
jamin Simpson, from York, was out during a part of the
war. He commenced-clearing the well improved estate
on which he now lives, about 1790.* Capt. Abraham
Tyler, from Scarboro', (Blue-point,) was in the service
the last three years of the war. Jesse Whitney was also
out, and is now a pensioner. Two are deceased : Lieut.
Moses Banks, from Scarboro', (originally of York,) an
officer in Phinney's regiment, well known since the war

*Mr. Simpson assisted in the destruction of the tea at Boston, 16
December, 1773. At our request he has furnished the following ac-
count of what he personally witnessed in relation to that affair. "I
was then an apprentice to a bricklayer, when two ships and a brig
with tea on board arrived at Boston, with heavy duties, which the
Bostonians would not consent to pay. The town being alarmed at
such proceedings, called townmeetings day after day, night aftei'
night. The captain of the first ship that arrived, went (from the
townmeeting) to the governor to see if he would give his ship a pass-
port out by Gastle island. At his return in the evening, (the town


as a skilful surveyor and draughtsman ; he died in Saco,
1825, aged 92. David Batchelder, who served also in
the French war, died at Old Orchard, 1828, aged 88.

The only persons in the two towns who were opposed
to the war, were Dr. Alden and Capt. Philip Goldth-
waite. The former was mohbed by a party from Gor-
ham, consisting of thirty or forty soldiers, at the illjudged
instigation, it is said, of Col. Phinney and others of that
place. The men were armed, and having taken the doc-
tor, placed him in a kneeling posture on a hogshead, in
front of deacon Scamman's house, then a tavern. In this
situation, with the soldiers paraded around him, presenting
their guns to his body, he was required to recant his opin-
ions, or suffer instant death.' A confession was read to
him, which he signed, stating that he had done wrong in
justifying the proceedings of Parliament ; expressing; his
sorrow for every act of opposition to the whigs of which
he had been guilty, and promising that in future he would
be peaceable in his deportment, and aid the cause of
Liberty as much as was in his power. *'This," he was

waiting the result of the application,) he was asked the governor's
answer, which was that he should not grant a pass unless she was
well qualified from the Customhouse. After the captain reported
this answer to the meeting, a voice was heard in the gallery, hope^
she will be well qualified. The captain was then asked if he would
take charge of the ship and carry her out of Boston, notwithstandingf
the refusal of the governor ; to which he answered. No. (A whistle
in the gallery — call to order.) The meeting was then declared to be
dissolved, (in the gallery. Every man to his tent !) We repaired to
the wharf where the ships lay I went on board one or both ships,
but saw no person belonging to them. In a few minutes a number
of men came on the wharf, (with the Indian powo?^,) went on board
the ships then lying at the side of the wharf, the water in the dock
not more than two feet deep. They began to throw the tea into the
water which went off with the tide till the tea grounded. We soon
found there was tea on board the brig •, a demand being made of it,
the captain told us the whole of his cargo was on board ; that the tea
was directly under the hatches, which he would open if we would
not damage any thing but the tea ; which was agreed to. The hatch-
es were then opened ; a man sent down to show us the tea, which
we hoisted out. stove the chests, threw tea and all overboard. Those
on board the ships, did the same. I was on board the ships when the
tea was so high by the side of them as in fall in ; which was shovel-
led down more than once. We on board the brig were not disguised.
I was then 19 years old, am no.v seventy five. — (Signed,)

Benjamin Simpson."


compelled to say in conclusion, "I heartily promisCj and
bind myself to, and am very thankful for my life." He
was then discharged. The transaction was generally
disapproved by our Inhabitants, none of whom joined the
party. Dr. Alden finally removed to Scarboro'. Capt.
Goldthwaite lived at Winter Harbor, and exercised the
office of inspector for this port under the provincial
government. He put himself under British protection as
soon as the war commenced. His brother, Jos. Goldth-
waite, Esq. of Boston, is named in the act relating to re-
fugees, passed 1778.


A meeting of the inhabitants of Biddeford washolden
May 22, 1780, "to see if the town would approve, al-
ter, or reject the new form of Government made by the
Convention at ^Cambridge, March 2, 1780." The re-
cord is as follows : "The honorable Rishworth Jordan,
Moderator. Adjourned to Monday, 29 inst. 2 o'clock
P. M. Monday, May 29, 1780. Met according to ad-
journment. Resolved, that there be a form of govern-
ment set up as absolutely necessary. Resolved, to accept
the form aforementioned with the following alteration in
the tenth Article of the second Chapter : All military of-
ficers ought to be appointed and commissioned by the
Governor by and with advice of Council ; Except, all
Aids-de-camp ought to be appointed by their own Maj.
Generals, Brigade Majors by their Brigadiers or Com-
mandants of Brigades, Adjutants and Quartermasters by
their Colonels or Commanding Officers of Regiments,
and Commissioned by the Governor with advice of Coun-
cil ; for the following reasons : 1. Because they are liable
to be under control by being dependent on the soldiers
for their commissions, *and therefore cannot act free and
independent. 2. Because they are liable to be degraded
or superseded in case of a vacancy by the soldiers, if


they do not act in conformity to their wills and capri-
cious humors, without reason or against reason."

Other towns suggested alterations in like manner, es-
pecially in regard to the third article of the bill of rights.
"But their acceptance of the Constitution did not de-
pend upon the adoption of these amendments. Nor was
it in the power of the Convention to incorporate them in-
to the instrument, without another appeal to the people,
which would not have been judicious."*

The first election of State officers took place 4 Sept.
1780. John Hancock was chosen governor four years
in succession, after which he declined being a candidate
for the office. The votes in Saco (Pepperrellboro') 1780,
were, for Hancock 7, for James Bowdoin 3 ; 1781, for
Hancock 27, for Bowdoin 2 ; 1782-3, all for Hancock.
The votes in Biddeford the first two years are not recor-
ded ; 1782, the whole number, 14, were for Hancock.
The number of votes cast in the county of York, that
year, for state officers, was 161. Mr. Bowdoin was
elected governor 1785-6, after which Gov. Hancock was
again called to the chair, which he filled until his death,
Octo. 1793. In 1785, (when Gov. Hancock was not a
candidate,) the whole number of votes in Saco were
thrown for Gen. Benj. Lincoln ; the next year there was
a majority for Gov. Bowdoin. In 1794, Samuel Adams
received a majority of the votes of the town for governor,
and the two succeeding years the whole number thrown.
After the resignation of Gov. Adams, 1797, the votes in
Saco stood, for James Sullivan 52, for Increase Sumner
2. The next year, (Mr. Sullivan having withdrawn,)
Gov. Sumner had a majority.

There was no choice of senators in York County 1780 ;
the four highest candidates were Edw. Cutts, of Kittery,
Benjamin Cliadbourne, of Herwick, Nathaniel Wells, of
Wells, and Rishworth Jordan, of Biddeford ; of whom
the two former were elected by the Legislature. At sub-
sequent periods, Saco has furnished four members of the
Mass. Senate, viz. Col. Tristram Jordan, 1787 ; Joseph
Bartlett, 1804; Joseph Leland,' 1805 and 1808; Col.
William Moody, 1812-19.

^Bradford. Hist. Mass. ii. 186.


Col. Jordan, whose early settlement at the Falls has
been noticed, removed to his estate at Deep-brook about
the close of the revolutionary war, where he died 1821,
at the age of ninety years. He was eminently the father
of the town ; no other individual was so often entrusted
with the direction of its affairs, or exercised an equal de-
gree of influence durins; the early period of its separate
incorporation. He was at the same time distinguished
for his private enterprise and assiduous attention to busi-
ness. Having been engaged when a young man in sever-
al short voyages, he received the offer of an European
ship, before he became of age, which he declined, not
choosing to follow the sea. One of his trips to Halifax,
N. S. is worthy of notice. That town was laid out, and
its settlement commenced, 1749, under the direction of
Col. Cornwailis, the governor of the colony. Three hun-
dred houses were built the first year,* of which the ma-
terials were partially supplied from this quarter. Young
Jordan was employed in this business, and on one occa-
sion took out with him the frame of the first church erec-
ted in Halifax, which he had contracted with Cornwailis
to furnish. The timber was from Deep-brook. At a
later date, Col. Jordan was best known as a magistrate,
having performed the greater part of the duties devolving
on a justice of the peace, for the east side of the river,
until quite advanced in life. His first wife, died 1775;
their children were two sons and seven daughters. Of the
latter, Elizabeth, the eldest, was married to William Vau-
ghan, Esq. of Scarboro', afterwards of Portland, 1772;
Sarah, to Mr, Nathaniel Scamman 1775 ; Hannah, to
Capt. Solomon Coit, the same year, and after his decease,
to James Perkins, Esq. of Kennebunk-port, 1797 ; Olive,
to Capt. Seth Storer, 1776 ; Mary, to Daniel Granger,
Esq. 1792. Capts. Coit and Storer were eminent ship-
masters at a period when the art of navigation was not
so generally understood as at the present time. The for-
mer built the house now occupied by Capt. Samuel
Hartley. Col. Jordan was twice married after the de-
cease of his first wife, and left two sons and a daughter
by the last connection.

*Haliburton. Hist. N. Scotia, ii. 12.


The second gentleman who was elected to the Senate
from Saco, Joseph Bartlett, Esq. the eccentric author of
"Aphorisms" &ic. practised law several years in town, at
first with good reputation. The year in whiah he was'
chosen senator, Mr. Bartlett received nearly all the votes
in Saco, and a large majority in Biddeford. He remo-
ved afterwards to Portsmouth, N. H. A singularly con-
structed, but not inelegant house, which he built, stan-
ding near the site of the old Ferry house, remains a
characteristic monument of its projector. Mr. Bartlett
was supposed to be the conductor of the "Freeman's
Friend," a newspaper published in town 1805-6, by
Mr. William Weeks. He was undoubtedly the principal
contributer to its columns.

The services of Col. William Moody in the Mass,
Senate, were continued through eight successive terms.
The general support which he received from the towns
in the county, is sufficient evidence of the high estima-
tion in which he was held as a public man. His father,
William Pepperell Moody, came to this town from Kit-
tery, and was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Mr.
Samuel Scamman, 1763. William was born July 10,
1770, and was seventeen years of age at the time of his
father's decease. He enjoyed no further advantages of
education than were afforded by the common district
schools ; of the full benefit of even these, he was partial-
ly deprived by the early necessity of applying to a means
of support. His f^ither and grandfather were joiners by
occupation; the latter, Mr. E<lmimd Moody, was the ar-
chitect of the first meetinghouse in Saco, as already sta-
ted ; and the former early initiated his son in the sam6
business, which he ever after pursued. Col. Moody re-
presented the town in the Le2;islature eight years in suc-
cession, from 1804 to 1812 ; and during that period, and
the succeeding eight years, in the other branch, he be-
came by the force of native intellect alone, without the
benefit of early cjiltivation, a prominent and highly use-
ful member of that body. In the Convention by which
the Constitution of Mnine was formed, havinij been elec-
ted one of the delegatf^s from Saco, Col. Moody often
took part in the debates, and was distinguished for the


ease and clearness with which he expressed his views*
He was returned a member of the first Senate of Maine,
and presided over its deliberations after the resignation of
Gen. Chandler. About the same time he was appointed
Sheriff of York County. His death occurred suddenly,
March 15, 1822, while he was in the midst of life and
usefulness, and was universally lamented.

In the course of the war, Feb. 9, 1778, died the Rev.
Moses Morrill. The names of his children, born 1744-76,
are the following : Samuel Jordan, John, Joseph, Sarah,
Hannah, Olive, Mary, Elizabeth, Tristram, Abigail, Tris-
tram, Nahuin, and Moses. He was succeeded in the
ministry by the Rev. Nathanael Webs^ter. The or-
dination of this gentleman took place April 14, 1779,
The town voted him a salary of £75, to be paid in the
following manner : 45 bushels of corn, at 45. ; 4 bushels
rye, at 5s. ; 400 lbs. pork, at 5d. ; 50 lbs. wool, at is.
8d. ; 50 lbs. flax at 8^. ; 100 lbs. butter at 8^; 4046
lbs. beef at 20^. per cwt. ; 1 quintal fish 2ls. ; 2 tons
good English hay at £3. The salary was soon after
raised to £80, ($266,66.) A separate parish, called the
Second Religious Society in Biddeford, was incorporated
1797. The principles on which this society was formed,
were professedly liberal, as the following article from
its Rules and Regulations sufficiently shows : "To pre-
vent all religious disputes respecting doctrines, as every
Christian, or religious Society, has an undoubted right to
put his or their construction upon the Scriptures, a point
of Orthodoxy, or a mere Article of faith, shall never be
a fit subject to lay before any council, reference, or any
description of Men whatever." The upper meeting-
house was built by the Society at that time. The first
regular pastor was the Rev. John Turner, previously
of Alfred, who was installed 1808. Mr. Turner remai-
ned until 1817, when his connexion with the Society
was dissolved. In the year 1823, the Rev. Thomas
Tracy, from Cambridge, came to Biddeford, and preach-
ed several sabbaths so much to the satisfaction of the
Society, that a call was soon after given him to setde
with them for the term of five years ; which he accepted,
arjd was ordained Jan. 14, 1824. Many of the most


efficient members of the society were resident in Saco^
and on the formation of the Second Parish in this town,
it was agreed that Mr. Tracy should transfer to it his
pastoral care. He was accoidingly installed in Saco,
Nov. 21, 1827. The meetinghouse was dedicated at the
same time. It is a handsome edifice, 76 feet in length
by 46 in breadth ; biiilt on contract by Mr. John John-
son. Mr. Tracy's connection with the Parish was dis-
solved in the autumn of 1828.

An act of incorporation was obtained by the First Par-
ish in Biddeford, 1798. The Rev. Mr. Webster was
invited to continue the pastor, and accepted. In 1825,
he consented to have a colleague, and, Octo. 26, Rev.
Jonathan Ward, jr. of Plymouth, N. H. was ordained.
Mr. Ward died early the following year. He was suc-
ceeded, on a temporary engagement, by Rev. D. D.
Tappan, now of Alfred. In January, 1828, the present
pastor. Rev. Christopher Marsh, was ordained, and
receives a united support from members of both Parishes,
preaching alternately in the two churches. After the set-
tlement of Rev. Mr. Marsh, the senior pastor withdrew
from the labors of the ministry, in which he had been
so long and happily engaged, and took up his residence^
with a son in law in Portland. He died 8 March, 1830,
aged eighty one years. Mr. Webster was born at King-
ston, N. H. and graduated at Harvard Coll. 1769. Two
of his sermons have been printed, one of which, deliver-
ed before a convention of ministers at Buxton, 1815, in-
culcates the sufficiency of the scriptures, independent of
creeds, as a standard of religious faith. The character
of Mr. Webster was that of a cheerful and benevolent "
man ; by the practice of the social virtues, in which he
excelled, he attached to himself the best affections of his

The ministerial labors of the Rev. Mr. Fairfield were
continued during a period of thirty six years. "On
April 2, 1798, at his repeated request," as it appears from
a record of that datp, "a perfect harmony subsisting be-
tween him and the People, he was disniissed from the
work of the ministry in Pepfierrellboro', by the People,
at their meeting on that day." Mr. Fairfield performed



in a diligent and satisfactory manner the duties which de-
volve on a pastor and teacher. Possessing a thorough
acquaintance with the sacred volume, he infused its spirit
into his discourses, which were prepared with the utmost
care, and. in point of style, were not unworthy his repu-
tation as a scljolar. During his ministry the number of
baptisms was 778 ; of admissions to the covenant, 177 ;
to full church membership, 9. The exactness with which
Mr, Fairfield recorded the memoranda from which the
above statement is gathered, and oihers of a similar char-
acter, shows that he was not inattentive to the smallest
clerical duty. The records which he has thus left, rela-
ting to the people of his parish, are minute and extremely
valuable. Mr. Faii field residt.d in Biddeford several
years prior to his decease ; he died 16 December, 1819,
aged eighty three years. His funeral was attended by
the neighboring clergy ; prayers were offered on the oc-
casion by Rev. Mr. Lancaster, of Scarboro' ; and a ser-
mon delivered by Rev. Mr. Webster. Jn concluding ^his
brief and imperfect notice of the gentlemen to whom

Online LibraryGeorge FolsomHistory of Saco and Biddeford, with notices of other early settlements, and of the proprietary governments, in Maine, including the provinces of New Somersetshire and Lygonia → online text (page 26 of 30)