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In the south-west part of the town, where David Gordon now lives, a Mr. Russell, father of Mr. L. W. Russell, settled at an early day. Being one of the first settlers west of the Ridge, that neighborhood took its name, — Russellborough, — from him. He left the town not many years after. Near the same time Andrew Dunning settled not far from Isaac Eaton's present location but continued there only a year or two.
Not much, if any, after the preceding, Jeremiah Bragdon settled where Moses French now lives. Being a blacksmith he carried on blacksmithing as well as farming. He was the first blacksmith in town. He joined the Congregational church in 1797, and being a good reader he frequently read sermons and conducted religious meetings in Wyman's Plantation, on the Sabbath, when no minister was in attendance. He probably had improved better advantages of education than most of those around him. About the commencement of the present century he became insane. He was an athletic man, and three of his neighbors had their hands full to confine him when first taken. He would contrive to do some mischief even when bound with a little slack chain. If near enough, he would get his head into the fire, unless closely watched. He was taken care of at different places, but mostly at home, by those living in the vicinity, for a year or two, at least. His insanity afterwards measurably left him. In after years he seemed to think that he must sound every letter in all his words when talking. It was amusing to hear him do this in such words as, though, bought, slaughter, could, would, &c. He would not only give a quick sound to gh, and l, in these and like words, but to u the full sound, as of w in cow, and the w a like sound, or speak the letter in all words where it is silent. He died in Nov., 1812; his wife in Nov., 1806.
The closing ten years of the last century brought a number of inhabitants into Wyman's Plantation. Joseph French, a native of New Hampshire, lived and died where Isaac French now resides. In April, 1791, he came by a spotted line for three miles, by way of Starling, now Fayette, to begin on his lot. He and his brother Moses built and lived in a camp near the south line of the town, while they were making a beginning in clearing their land. They came on foot from South Hampton, N. H., with packs On their backs and six day's provisions. Joseph French was then nearly twenty-one, and had not previously been thirty miles from home. The spotted line above mentioned was south of the late Daniel Bachelder's, now in Fayette, who had settled on the place where he lived many years, a short time before. Here Mr. French and his brother made a short stay, until they put up a camp. He labored on his lot in summers, and went back to New Hampshire to spend the winters, for three years. He and his brother camped together a part of the time, and husked their corn in the camp by firelight or moonlight, in the evenings of Autumn. One evening, while thus employed, a bear came snuffing around, looked in, and snapped his teeth, but dared not venture in, for fear of the fire. The next morning Mr. Judkins came along with his dog where they were gathering corn. The dog scented the bear and found him in the edge of the woods asleep, but they did not capture him. Mr. French took many a load of corn to Hallowell with his oxen, and sold it for two shillings a bushel. On returning he not unfrequently moved up families who were emigrating to the forest frontier. In one instance he was obliged to tie a woman and child on the top of a load, to keep them from falling off. Occasionally he would drive all night. He served the town as Selectman and Assessor seventeen years, and was a Justice of the Peace one or more terms. He served the Congregational Church as Deacon, thirty-two of the last years of his life. He was a joiner by trade, and worked at his trade in connection with his farming operations. — He was a successful farmer and an industrious citizen. He died in Nov., 1841; his wife in Nov., 1855.
Jonathan Fellows, senior, lived near the present residence of Henry Whitney. He served the town as Selectman two years. He died in April, 1854; his wife in July, 1821. Moses Bachelder on the south, and Phineas Bachelder on the north of Mr. Fellows, and Asa Soper; near where Jesse Soper now lives, all began settlements in this period. Mr. Soper died in 1842, at the age of 76; his wife in 1844, at the age of 70. Moses Bachelder died in 1844, Phineas Bachelder died in 1850; his wife several years before.
In 1794, Samuel W. Eaton settled where his son, John Eaton, now resides. He occupied the farm for the remainder of his life as his home, though he spent most of his time, for fifteen years or more, prior to 1827, at sea. He made no foreign voyages, except one to the West Indies, but was engaged mostly in coasting and fishing. Though he never studied navigation, he was so well acquainted with the rivers and harbors on our sea coast that he was esteemed a good pilot. He died in 1831; his wife in 1842.
Joseph Jones, the second blacksmith in town, a trade at which he worked a part of his time, settled where Gustavus Clarke now lives. He was the first lieutenant in the militia of the town and was promoted to the rank of captain. While he was an officer, or soon after, he sold his farm and bought where William Hathaway began; but he lived there but a few years, when he exchanged farms with Phineas Whitney, and removed to Cumberland County. He is supposed to be yet  living in Aroostook County.
Aaron Fellows, sen., settled where his son Aaron now lives. He was one of the Selectmen during the first two years of the town's corporate existence. — He worked at shoemaking as well as farming. He attended the annual town meeting, March 7, 1853, then near eighty years of age. He died a little more than a year after. Mrs. Fellows died in 1849. About the year 1797, Mr. Fellows was hauling a load of boards from the Center Mills, with four oxen and a pair of wheels. When he got on the Ridge, nearly opposite the bog north of McGurdy's Pond he missed something which he had supposed to be on his load. Leaving his team he went back, expecting every moment to find the missing article. He reached the mill, however, before he found it; and returning as expeditiously as he could, he found his load, wheels and oxen, tumbled down the east side of the Ridge; which there is rather steep. — The load was lodged against a bunch of birch bushes near the foot of the Ridge, the hind oxen in quite an uncomfortable position — one on the other, the other still fast to the cart. His first movement was to cut off the bow and liberate the upper ox; but finding this difficult and risky, he cut off the tongue of the cart. He then drove the oxen up the side of the Ridge as fast as he could and went home with them. The next day, with some help, he got up the cart and boards.
Moses Walton, sen., moved from Salisbury, Mass., to Sterling, now Fayette, about 1790. Six years later he settled in Wyman's Plantation, where Charles Walton, his grandson, now resides. About the same time, or a little earlier, Jacob Carr settled near Mr. Walton's. Mr. Carr was Constable and Collector three years from 1813. Not long after this he sold his farm and left the town.
Early in the present century Samuel French, sen., settled where Benj. S. French now resides. He died in 1831. Near the same time Dearborn French began to clear the farm where he now resides.
Early in the closing decade of the last century John Bean, son of Joshua Bean of Readfield, built a house and settled on the farm where he lived and died, near the west line of the town. He was an enterprising farmer. His improved land was much of it in Jay. John Locke, son of Edward Locke, began in Jay on the lot next north of Mr. Bean's, at the same time. The first trees they cut lay side by side. They labored much together. When chopping down their first trees they planned for their corn-cribs. They selected four trees. about twenty-five feet apart, nearly in a square; these they cut some six feet from the ground, as squarely as they could, on the tops. Before the next corn harvest they placed two sizeable spruce logs on these stumps, as distant from each other, and as nearly parallel to each other as they could. Across these they placed several others, spotted so as to lay steadily. On the last sleepers they built their corn cribs, of poles, covered with spruce bark or corn stalks, to shed off the rain. Here the corn was well preserved, and was so high that the bears could not get to it. It was threshed and marketed the following winter. — Mr. Bean served the town as Moderator at thirteen annual meetings, as Selectman one year, and as Constable and Collector four years. He died in 1854, at the age of 84. His wife died in 1850, aged 76.
About the time of the settlement of Mr. Bean, William Hathaway began on a lot near where Jacob W. Butterfield now resides, and where Zebulon Taylor recently resided. After a few years he sold to Capt. Jones, and left the town When Mr. H. began to clear his lot it was in Tyngtown, now Wilton, and the lot was one of the northerly ones, afterwards set off from Wilton to Chesterville.
previously cleared some land and built a house, John Wheeler jr., who
had married Mr. Linscott's eldest daughter, took up his residence on
a lot on Linscott's Purchase, about a mile easterly from the Center
Mills, in the year 1800. He continued to reside there about
twenty-three years, when he bought a farm not far from the Mills, and
removed there. A few years after he took down the buildings on his
back lot, but still continued to own and improve it. He was a very
industrious man. He died in 1855. Mrs. Wheeler, his widow, is the
only known survivor of the first settlers in Chester Plantation. She
was about six years old when her father moved into the place, which
was in March, 1783, and an event she very well remembers. Not far
from 1840 she became blind. At first she could distinguish day from
night, but latterly it is all one continued night to her bodily eyes.
She distinguishes her acquaintances by the tones of their voices, and
seems very intelligent and of good memory. — The writer is indebted
to her for many incidents he has recorded.
Is said to have been the earliest settler in the north-east part of the town. He began on the farm now occupied by Mr. Dike; sold to Thomas Williams, sen., and not long after left the town.
Commenced not far from the present residence of John W. Sanborn, about the same time, which was not far from 1788.
Settled on the farm where Benning Glines now lives, in 1790 or 1791. He resided on the place a number of years. He died in 1825 at the age of more than 80 years.
Other settlers in that vicinity followed within the next four or five years. Phineas Whittier settled where Peter Whittier now lives, and Richard Maddocks, sen , where his son Richard resides. John Butterfield. sen., settled where his son John resides.
About this period, bought of Clarke Whittier. Mr. Williams was a joiner by trade. He was Selectman for the first three years of the town's corporate action, and the first Captain of the militia company in the town, to which office he was elected in 1804. — He died in 1810, Phineas Whittier in 1828, Mr. Haddocks in 1839, and Mr. Butterfield in 1818.
A little later than the date of the last stated settlements, Newell Gordon began to clear the farm now occupied by Mr. Lufkin. He served the town two years as Selectman, and as Constable and Collector two years. He died in 1848.
Where David Oakes now resides John Oakes his father commenced living in 1805. The two lots owned and occupied by him had been partially cleared by his brother, Eben Oakes, who is said to be still living in Madrid. Otis Corbet, afterwards of Farmington, had also made a beginning. Mr. Oakes died in 1839. In this part of the town, David Williams, John Allen, Daniel Streeter, and perhaps others, were among the early inhabitants, but the writer is not acquainted with their history.
An accident of a serious character took place in this part of the town not far from 1809. Some half a mile easterly from John Butterfield's, Horatis G. Quincy was engaged in felling trees. A tree he had cut lodged on another, and he stepped forward and cut upon the tree that held the other up. It soon gave way, split up, broke, and slid back, the sharp end catching one of his legs at the angle, and drove it into the ground. When the tree fell it threw out his foot, but it was almost severed from the leg, — only the strong cords at the heel holding it. After some delay, physicians being called in who dared not amputate, — Dr. Mann of Hallowell, arrived. He did not arrive, however, till some twenty-five or thirty hours after the occurrence. He amputated the leg; Mr. Quincy recovered, and afterwards became a healthy and robust man.
The pioneer of the village at Farmington Falls, on the Chesterville side of the river, was David Morrill. He was a native of New Hampshire, and removed with his father's family to Readfield when he was about fourteen years old. He served an apprenticeship with Thomas Williams, sen., and was married to a daughter of Deacon J. F. Woods in 1801. He built a house a little north-easterly of Deacon Woods', where he lived a few years. He then built the house which is the present residence of T. Croswell, Esq., and removed his family into it. He next built a house on the Chesterville side of the Sandy River, into which he removed his family in 1810. A short time before this there was little, if any, cleared land near the river at this place. — Mr. Morrill was Justice of the Peace, and one authorized to qualify civil officers, for several years. He served the town as Selectman four years, and as representative two years. He was a carpenter, joiner, and brick mason, and worked occasionally at all these trades as well as farming. He was killed by a fall in his barn, which produced death almost instantly. His death occurred in December, 1842, at the age of 63. Mrs. Morrill died of paralysis, in Oct., 1857, at the age of 77.
According to a journal kept by Rev. Jotham Sewall the question of the separation of Maine from Massachusetts was agitated in 1792. Monday the 7th day of May of that year was appointed for the people of Maine to meet and vote on the question. He writes; "Met in the afternoon at Dummer Sewall's. Nine votes for, and two against separation."
The inhabitants of Chester Plantation, (see record made by Dummer Sewall,) applied to Stephen Titcomb, Esq., to call the first Plantation Meeting of which the writer has been able to find any record. Pursuant to his warrant the meeting was held at Joshua B. Lowell's, Innholder, the 3rd Monday in March, 1799. Dummer Sewall was chosen Clerk, Thomas Williams, William Bradbury, and Joshua B. Lowell, Assessors; and Samuel Linscott, Thomas Gordon, and John Butterfield, Surveyors. The 1st Monday in April of the same year another meeting was held at Thomas Williams' where it was voted to raise $200 to repair highways, fixing the price of labor on the highways at one dollar a day in June and July, eighty cents in August and September, and sixty-six cents in October and November. Another meeting was convened at Joshua B. Lowell's, March 10, 1800, at which the Clerk and Assessors were reelected, and more surveyors chosen. The price of labor on the highways was fixed at the same rates as the year before, with the exception of a change to fifty cents for October and November. The rates of ox labor were the same as those for men. April 6, 1801, a majority of the Plantation agreed to repair or rebuild the bridge at Sewall's Mills, and subscribed forty-five dollars for the purpose, "if the rest would help;" the amount to be paid in work at a dollar a day. The act incorporating the town bears date Feb. 20, 1802, and authorized Stephen Titcomb, Esq., to call the first meeting. His warrant for the purpose, directed to hummer Sewall, one of the inhabitants, was dated March 10, 1802. Pursuant to this the first meeting was held on the first Monday in April following the 5th day, at which time they not only organized, but voted for State and County officers. Jotham Sewall was the first Moderator. The meetings of the town, for the first few years, were held at Joshua B. Lowell's. Afterwards for several years in the Schoolhouse in School District No. 1. Once each, at least, they met in the Schoolhouses of Nos. 4, and 7, in later years. After this the gallery of the old Meeting-house was used for this purpose a number of years. Since 1831 the town has met, mostly, in Robinson's or Whittier's Hall, near the Center Mills.
The first Sawmill in Chesterville was erected by Dummer Sewall and a few others, in April, 1784, and was put in operation the following year. In 1785, too, the first Gristmill was put in motion, either under the Sawmill roof, or in a small addition attached. It had one run of stones. This mill stood near the present site of Park's Mill. The dam being rather low, so that the head was small, and the backwater retarding the motion of the wheels considerably, the mill was taken down. July 6, 1793, and six days after re-erected some fifteen or twenty rods further up-stream, where a new dam was built the first dam being taken up. Mr. Sewall and Mr. Linscott owned and run the Gristmill together. Before this was entirely worn out Mr. Sewall built a Sawmill near, but a little below. A building connected with this was the third Gristmill in town. It had one run of stones. A shop was built a few years later, north-west of these, but near, in which a small saw was put in motion for splitting plank, &c. He added in width to the Sawmill enough to accommodate another saw. Not long after this the shop was taken down, and the Sawmill and Gristmill sold. — Another saw was put into the Sawmill, run a few years and then taken out; the irons being sold to Dummer Sewall. These mills were burned in the Spring of 1819, just after J. Butterfield had sold them. The first Sawmill having become decayed and useless, in 1803 or 1804, Samuel Linscott and others built a Sawmill some distance below these, and drew water to carry it through a very long flume. This having become partially decayed, in 1819 it was taken down. Some of the old owners selling out, and others joining in the enterprise, a double Sawmill was erected in October 1819, where Parks' Mill now stands. A new dam was built just above this mill, with a wasteway on its south-east side; and a Gristmill was put up on the other side of the wasteway. These mills did a fair business for several years. A Fullingmill, too, adjoining the Gristmill was in operation some time. The Sawmill was reduced to one saw, and Clapboard and Shingle Machines put in the place of the other. In Jan. 1849 these mills were burned, and the present ones were erected soon after.
About 1823, or 4, Dummer Sewall made another dam some distance below, and put up a Sawmill. At this some business was done in sawing boards, clapboards, &c. for several years. It became somewhat decayed and was taken down a number of years ago. It stood near the present site of the Starch Factory.
Around the Center Mills, and in several other parts of the town, there were originally extensive growths of pine; which, if standing now, at the present worth, would be of immense value. The advance in the price of pine timber has been great since the early settlement of Chesterville. A few facts will illustrate this statement. A tract esteemed one of the most valuable and beautiful in the town, not far from 1817, was purchased for $1400, which had almost trebled in value within the five previous years. Within the next eighteen years enough was cut off and sold, amply to refund the purchase money, when it was sold for nine thousand dollars. — Another tract, though formerly of small value, was bought for $35. During the next twenty-four years three hundred dollars was realized for timber cut off. It was then sold for one thousand seven hundred dollars. In 1825, a seven acre lot in the northeast part of the town was valued by an appraising committee at $22. About eighteen years after a similar committee set the same lot at $150. Considerable timber had been cut off in the interim.
The Sawmill built in 1792, on Wilson's Stream, at what has since been called Keith's Mills, although on the north side of the stream, as it then was, stood, no doubt, within the present limits of Chesterville; and was the second in the town which was put in operation. The Gristmill erected about the same time, stood north, or in shore of the Sawmill, and just outside, in the stream of the present Sawmill. The town line, probably, laid through this Gristmill. As the propelling wheel was in the southerly part of the building, and the stones not far from the middle, it may not improperly be called the second Gristmill in the present town. These mills were built by Samuel Sewall. Not far from the beginning of the present century he sold to Rufus Davis. After occupying them a few years Mr. Davis sold to Edward Locke. He occupied them very little, and they ran down. The upper part of the Sawmill frame was taken down, moved to the Locke farm, and became a cider house. A freshet destroyed the dam immediately above the Gristmill, and undermined and partially carried it away. Just before this a new Sawmill standing nearly or quite its length down-stream of the present one, had been raised by the predecessors of the owners of that now existing. This was about 1809.
The first Gristmill on the south side of the stream at this place was built by Edward Locke and his son not far from 1811. 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 valuable 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.