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

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



Farmington, the shire town of Franklin County, is situated near its southern part. It is 10 miles long and 7 wide at the northern part. The area is 27,000 acres. Sandy River runs through it from north to south, dividing into nearly equal parts. The other large water-courses are Wilson's Stream and Beaver Dam Brook. There are numerous small streams and springs in every part of the town. Some of the high lands, particularly in the northern part, are somewhat rocky and difficult to cultivate; but the soil is generally easily worked and fertile, especially in the intervals and adjacent uplands. The first, however, afford excellent pasturage, and are decked in their season with numerous flocks of sheep. Hay and wool are the principal agricultural exports. Orchards of apple and other fruit-trees abound. Powder House Hill, just above Farmington Village, is the most notable eminence. There are several others, but none of great height. Limestone of poor quality exists in several places, but the rock generally is of slaty formation.

Much of the surface of Farmington is considerably elevated above Sandy River Valley, of which fine views may be had from many parts of the town.

Farmington, the principal village, is situated on a beautiful undulating plain on the eastern bank of Sandy River near the centre of the town.

Its streets are hard and broad, and most of them have a double row of shade-trees. The top of Court street affords a fine landscape view toward the west, while from Powder House Hill, up and down the river, are views still more impressive.

Some noble willows at the western extremity of the village sprang from twigs, cut on the way home from Augusta by Hiram Belcher, Esq., one of the early residents. A young lady's seminary which flourished here a few years since, occupying a fine eminence near by, took its name- The Willows- from these trees. More within the village is a small park, with a band-stand, and a fine grove of maples near it.

Six churches adorn the village, and dispense religious truth to the people. It is also the seat of the Western Normal School, of the noted Little Blue School, and the Wendell Institute. All of these have fine buildings and pleasant grounds. The Little Blue School is situated in an extensive park, consisting of hill and dale, shaded by numerous old and young trees, and enlivened with ponds, streams and bridges. There are in the town five lumber-mills, two sash, blind and door-factories- one run by steam -power, two brick-yards, one foundry, an excelsior and rake-factory, three grist-mills, nearly a dozen carriage. factories, one cheese- factory, two corn-canning factories, two mowing. machine manufactories, a spool-factory, tannery, etc.

Farmington village is the present terminus of the Maine Central Railroad, and is 95 miles distant from Portland. Other villages are Farmington Falls, and North and West Farmington.

This town was first explored with a view to settlement by Stephen Titeomb, Robert Gower, James Henry, Robert Alexander and James 3icDonald in the summer of 1776, being guided by Thomas Wilson, who had previously explored the region as a hunter. This company was from Topsham, and made the trip as far as Hallowell in canoes. At what is now Farmington Falls, they found two Indian camps, and an extensive clearing. Proceeding about a mile above the falls, they made a chain of basswood bark, with which they measured the land off into farms, then returned to Topsham to obtain their implements and a stock of provisions. In two weeks they were again at the scene of the proposed new settlement; and from this period until 1784 this eornpany and others continued to make improvements in different parts of the town. The township belonged to a grant to William Tyng and company for services in 1703, and therefore as a plantation it had with "Number One" and "Sandy River Plantation," also the name of "Tyngstown." It was surveyed by Col. Joseph North in 1780, and new families immediately came in. By the proprietors of the Kennebec patent, the township was claimed to be within their limits; but on its incorporation in 1791 it was found to be wholly outside. The goodness of its soil for agriculture was time occasion of giving it the corporate name of Farmimgton. The corn-fields of the Canibas tribe of Indians were here.

A post was established in Farmington in 1797; and the next year the town was represented in the General Court by Supply Beicher. Among the eminent citizens of the later period have been Jacob Abbot, Esq., and Jacob. and John S. C. Abbot, authors; Hon. Hiram Belcher, Hon. Robert Goodenow, Rev. Isaac Rogers, and others. Farmington sent to the aid of the Union cause in the war of the Rebellion 268 men, of whom 57 were lost.

Besides the libraries of the educational institutions Mentioned, there is a circulating library and also a social library of 1,500 volumes. The leading newspaper of the town and of the county is the "Farmington Chronicle," published every Thursday, by Chas. W. Keyes, Esq. It is republican in politics. The other weekly paper of the town is "The Herald," published by W. D. Chase. It is issued Friday. The "Herald" is greenback in politics, and a lively and enterprising sheet. The "Excelsior Quarterly" is an educational magazine, published by D. H. Knowlton. It is well filled with useful matter. The Franklin County Savings Bank, located at Farmington. at the close of 1879 held deposits and profits to the amount of $148,632.53. The Sandy River National Bank, in this town, has a capital of $75,000.

The religious societies are two Congregationalist and three Methodist churches, one Baptist, one Free Baptist, one Liberal Christian, and one Union church. Farmington has twenty-one public schoolhouses, and her school property is valued at $15,850. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $1,448,735. In 1880 it was $1,601,271. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 1½ per cent. on a full valuation. The population in 1870 was 3,251. In 1880 it was 3,353.

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