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

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




Chesterville, the south-eastern town of Franklin County, is bounded north by Farmington, east by New Sharon, west by Jay, and south by Fayette, in Kennebec County. The town is about 8 miles long, and nearly 6 in width at the northern end, —the area being about 19,000 acres. In the centre of the town the land is mostly flat and low. There is considerable swamp and bog as well as meadow land. The hills are generally stony, and lie at each end of the town. Moose Hill, in the south-west corner of the town, is about 800 feet above sea-level, but its highest point is in East Livermore. A spur of Blabon Hill is supposed to be the highest land in Chesterville. It is composed almost wholly of granite, large quantities of which are annually quarried and wrought into building material. Another eminence called “The Bluff” lies near Sand Pond, and is an almost perpendicular ledge, being about 100 feet high and 30 rods long. There 18 a horseback in the town 5 miles long and 25 feet high. Granite is the principal rock, of which there is much of a fine quality quarried. The soil is sandy, or a sandy loam. Pine is the most numerious wood, but alternating with hemlock, maple, birch and poplar. The town is marked by numerous small ponds, of which there are said to be upwards of twenty. The largest. of these is Parker’s Pond, lying at the south-eastern boundary of the town. Norcross Pond, the next in size, has an area of about one-third of a square acre. The others are Sheldrake, McGurciy, Lock’s, Saud, Parkhurst, Moosejorn, etc. The streams are Wilson’s, which forms the line ot division from Farming— ton; McGurdy's which marks the line between Chesterville and Vienna, also the former and New Sharon; Little Norridgewock, which rises in Norcross Pond in the south part of the town, running northward midway of the territory to Wilson’s Stream, which discharges into Sandy River.

The village of Farmington Falls is partly in Farmington and partly in Chesterville. The manufactures here are lumber, sash and blinds, spools, wrought granite, pumps, excelsior, potash, etc. At South Chesterville, situated on Parker’s Pond, there are a lumbermill and a grist-mill. North Chesterville, or Keith’s Mills, on Wilson’s Stream, is the centre of the wholesale manufacture of wagons and sleighs, which have a reputation throughout the State. The machine work is done at the village, but the larger part of the labor is performed on the neighboring farms; thus mingling the labors of the farm and the shop. The village is partly in Farrnington, and is charmingly situated, being surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills, through which the stream winds like a silver thread, or anon spreads out broad and pond-like. Other industries are carding and cloth-dressing, a grain-mill, cabinet and furniture making. There is here a beautiful village Union church, containing a bell that was given by Rev. Jotham Sewall, —widely known as “Father SewaIl,” and sometimes spoken of as the "Apstle of Maine,” —whose remains lie entombed in the outskirts of the village. There is a small library here. Chesterville Centre is a pretty village, with a fine church, situated on the Little Norridgewock. Here also is a large tannery for sheepskins, which are carried in through and out of the great vats of tanning liquor on huge reels moved by water and steam power. There are 20 residents of Chesterville over eighty years of age, and 1 over ninety. The town sent 65 men into the army of the Union during the war of the Rebellion, of which 23 were lost.

When the region was first explored by the settlers, they found at the rapids or falls at Chesterville Centre, on the Little Norridgwock, remains of palisades enclosing an area of some 3 acres where the village now stands. The enclosure included an Indian burying-ground, where bones, wampum, and other Indian relics are often dug up.

Chesterville was first known as Wyman’s Plantation from its pioneer settler, Abraham Wyman, who commenced his plantation in the southern part of the town in 1782. He was followed in 1783 by Samuel Linscott and Dummer Sewall, who built mills near the centre of the township, designating their settlement as Chester Plantation. The title of the lands was from Massachusetts. The township was first surveyed in 1788. Some of the early settlers were from Bath, others from York, and a few from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Rev. Jotham Sewall and William Bradbury, the financier, commenced their fortunes here. Among the trials and hardships of these two pioneers, was that of going to Winthrop, 20 miles distant, to mill, drawing their grain on a handsied. The first road was opened through the place in 1780; and the first saw and grist mill was in operation in 1785. The town was incorporated in 1802 It has now a Free Baptist church, and the Union church aforementioned. The number of public schoolhouses is twelve, and the value of the total school property, $2,800. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $288,353. In 1880 it was $290,968 The rate of taxation in the latter year was $16 on every $1,000. The population in 1870 was 1,011. In 1880 it was 955.

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