History of Buckfield, Maine
From
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886




Buckfield is situated in the south-eastern part of Oxford County, having Sumner and Hartford on the north, Paris on the west, Hebron on the south, and Turner, in Androscoggin County, on the east. Its dimensions are about 8 miles east and west, and 5 north and south. The area is 2,323 acres. The Nezinscot, or Twenty-Mile River, is formed from the union of its east and west branches, at Buckfield Village near the center of the town, and passes out in a south-easterly course. North Buckfield, the other village, is on the west branch. Falls Brook, a tributary from the western part of the town to the west branch, has a picturesque fall not far from its mouth. The Backfield and rumford Railroad passes through the town in a nearly north and 8Outh course, having a station at Buekfield Village. About one mile south of Buckfield Village is South Pond, about three fourths of a mile in length, and half a mile in width. Mud Pond and Jersey Bog lie near together in the eastern part of the town. Between these and the village is Federal Corner. There are more than a dozen isolated hills of considerable height in the town. The highest are Streaked Mountain which stands at the south-west angle of the town; South Hill, in the south-east corner, North Hill, near South Pond; Owl's Head Hill. south-west of the pond; and Dean's Hill, on the north side of the town. The surface, especially at the western part is quite uneven. Along the streams there is some fine alluvial land. The soil is generally deep and dark, good for grain and Indian corn. There are in the town several beds of magnetic iron ore, and a mine of yellow ochre has been opened. A limestone is also found yielding a fine quality of quicklime.

Nezinscot, or Twenty-Mile River, and its branches have several fine water-privileges, furnishing power for several saw, grist and other mills. The manufactures of the town are long lumber, shingles, staves, box-boards, flour and meal, shovel-handles, snow-shovels, handsleds, drag-rakes, brushes and brush blocks, powder-kegs, leather, harnesses, cutting-blocks, men's boots, etc. Backfield Village is the principal centre of business, not only for this but for several adjacent towns.

The first attempts at settlements in this town were by Benjamin Spaulding in the summer of 1776. Abijah Buck and Thomas Allen moved in with their families during the spring following. Others joined them, until in 1785 they procured a survey of the town, and purchased it soon after, of the owner, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, paying at the rate of two shillings per acre. The deer bears the date of November 13, 1788. Abijah Buck was agent of the proprietors in making tile purchase; and this, together with the circumstance that lie and his brothers were large owners, led to the adoption of the name " Bucktown " for the plantation. In 1793 it was incor porated as Buckfield. Its first representative in the General Court was Enoch Hall. and the date was 1807. In 1816 great fires swept over this and other towns, doing great injury to the forests. The first preacher in Buckfield was probably Rev. Nathaniel Chase, who, having served until mustered out, in the army of the Revolution, made his way through the wilderness on foot, in search of a place to locate. The farm which he took up here has remained in the family, and is now occupied by his grandson. Mr. Chase was of the Baptist denomination and much respected among his people. He travelled and preached among the early settlers in Paris, Woodstock, Greenwood, and in other places. He left a large posterity, among whom are tile well-known firm of Chase Brothers, nurserymen, of Rochester, New York. The Baptist denomination has remained the leading one in town, having its house of worship at the village. There was a Baptist society formed in the town as early as 1821, of which Elder Nathaniel Chase was in that year the minister. There are now in addition, Universalist, Methodist and Free Baptist churches. Seba Smith, author of the famous "Jack Downing Letters," and well known as a poet and journalist, was born in this town in 1782. Virgil D. Parris, a prominent politician in his day, a member of Congress for two terms, was a native of Buckfield. Hon. John D. Long, at this time in his second term as governor of Massachusetts, tile SOfl of Zadoc Long Esq., of this town, was born and spent most of his minority here.

Buckfield. has twelve public schoolhouses, valued together with other school property, at $6,000. The value of estates in 1870 was $554,673: In 1880 it was $397,598. The population in 1870 was 1,494. In 1880 it was 1,379.

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