History of Alfred, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine
By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Alfred, the shire town of York County, is situated
very near the geographical centre of the county. It is on the Portland and Rochester Railroad, 32 miles from Portland.
The surrounding towns are Waterborough on the north and north-east, Lyman on the east, Shapleigh and Sanford on
the west, and Kennebunk and Sanford on the south. The town is about 12 miles long from north-west to south-east,
and 4 miles wide at the middle, and contains 12,989 acres of land. The northern part is hilly, and abounds in granite
rocks and hardwood forests, while the southern portion is comparatively level, with evergreen and hard woods. The
soil is a gravelly loam in higher lands and sandy loam on the plains. The chief eminence is Yeaton's Hill. The
town has good roads, and the general appearance of the buildings indicate thrift. The principal bodies of water
are Shaker and Middle Branch, or Bungernuck Ponds, the first in the eastern and middle part of the town, and the
latter at the north. The principal streams are Hay Brook on the west, and the outlets of the pondsall running southward
and joining with the Mousam River on the south-west. The manufactories are woollen, saw and grist mills at Littlefield's
Mills, and the Shaker's saw-mill. The business centres are Alfred Village, Littlefield's Mills, North Alfred and
the Shaker Village. The early history of the town is involved in that of Sanford, and it formerly bore the name
of the "North Parish of Sandford," and the Indian name of Massabesic. It was incorporated in 1794, being
named in honor of Alfred the Great. The territory of the town was included in several quit-claim deeds purchased
in 1761-4 of the Indian chiefs Fluellen, Hobinowell, and Captain Sunday, by Major William Phillips, of Saco.
In 1782 a few families of Shakers settled at Moosebesic or Shaker Pond and Hill, and at Mastcamp, a few miles
north. They were at this time, fanatical in religion and intemperate in their indulgences. They were organized
as a body in their Present order and discipline in 1793. In 1782 a Congregational church was organized in Alfred,
forming the North Parish of Sanford; but in revivals some became excited and joined the "Merry Dancers"
(as the Shakers were then called), so that a minister was not settled until 1791. In 1834 the present house was
erected, and an organ added in 1854. The Baptists built a church on the Back Road in 1818, and another at Littlefield's
Mills soon after 1855. A second church was organized at the Gore in 1841, and a church built there in 1847. The
first permanent meeting of Methodists was in 1830, by Rev. John Lord, at the court-house; and in 1834 a church
was built. There is now an Advent Society also.