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

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




Foxcroft, is situated in the southern part of Piscataquis County, having Bowerbank on the north, Dover on the south, Sebec on on the east and Guilford on the west. The towii contains 17,915 acres. Sebec Lake occupies the larger part of the northern boundary. This body of water has an area of 14 square miles. Other ponds are Weston’s, Snow’s and Garland, being from a mile in length downward. The Piscataquis River near the southern boundary; and the Weston, Chase and Hammond Brooks, as well as the river, afford some water-power. The town has considerable granite, and also slate, some of which is said to be. of the finest quality. The soil is various, but generally productive. The principal manufactures are at the village opposite Dover village on the Piscataquis. There are here a woolen-mill, lumber and grain mills, a door, sash and blind factory, a spool-factory, an iron-foundry, a shoddy-null, tannery, carriage-factory and several others.

Foxcroft was one of the six townships given to Bowdoin College by Massachusetts. In 1800 it was purchased by Colonel Joseph E. Foxeroft, of New Gloucester, for the sum of $7,940,—about 45 cents an acre. In 1802 Colonel Foxeroft hired Elisha Alden to cut a road across the township at a cost of $73. This road passed from the Chandler place to the “Four Corners,” and thence over the bill to Morse’s landing, on Sebee Lake. John, Eleazer and Seth Spaulding were the first settlers; nioving in with their families in 1806, when they built the first mill. Mr. S. Chamberlin and Ephraim Bacon put up the first framed house in town in 1807; and Eliphalet Washburn, the same summer, raised the first barn in town. Captain Joel Pratt came in the next spring; others followed, among whom were Timothy Hutchinson, Joseph Morse, John Chandler and Jesse Washhurne. Dr. Winthrop Brown, from Berwick, commenced the practice of medicine in Foxcraft in 1809 or 1810.

At a visit in one of the years just mentioned Colonel Foxcroft advised the inhabitants to hold religious meetings. The people readily adopted his advice and met at the house of Eli Towne, bring. ing such hymn-books as they had. Mr. William Mitchell, an old schoolmaster, was present with a book of sermons in his pocket, ready to read at the proper time. Desirous of opening the meeting in the usual form, inquiry was made for some one to make the opening prayer, but not a man in the settlement had the necessary piety and confidence to perform this simple duty. There was a woman present Mrs. William Mitchell,—who had kept up prayer in her family from its commencement, and at the solicitation of the company this “Mother in Israel,” made the first public prayer in Foxcroft. Rev. John Sawyer soon after began to perform religious services in the place in 1809 or 1810. The daughter of Mr. S. Chamberlain, now Mrs. Greeley, born in 1808, is still living, being longest a resident in town. Messrs. Nathaniel, Daniel, William and Moses Bucks, came from Buckfield later. The plantation had first been known as Spauldingtown. It was incorporated as the second town in the county in 1812, being named in honor of the chief proprietor. Mr. John Bradbury was chosen the first town clerk, and Messrs. Joel Pratt, S. Chamberlain, and William Thayer, selectmen and assessors.

The war against England was declared this year, and there was much alarm in regard to the Indians. A meeting to consider the subject was held in Foxcroft in August. All thought there should be a fortification, but as most of the settlers along the river desired to have it on his own land, no agreement could be reached, and the project was abandoned. Finally Phineas Ames (known as King Ames)., made a speech in a rough, but eloquent way peculiar to him, in which he counseled delay and moderation. The result of the deliberations was the choice of Mr. E. Bacon, to visit Boston as agent of the Piscataquis settlements to procure arms and ammunition from the State, providing that sufficient money was raised voluntarily to defray his expenses. But the money was not raised, and the agent did not go, though some abandoned their homes for safe locations, and all barricaded the doors for safety against a possible midnight assault. The Indians, however, showed no disposition to break the peace.

The first store in town was opened by John Bradbury soon after 1813, who became quite successful as a merchant and mill owner. Bela Hammond & Sons a little later operated a kitchen-chair factory on Merrill Brook; and sometime after Benjamin Hammond & Com pany built a saw-mill and a bed-stead factory, and opened a store at the village. Charles P. Chandler, James S. Holmes, and Nathaniel Carpenter were highly esteemed citizens in their day. Foxeroft sent near 150 so1diers to aid the Union cause in the war of the Rebellion; of whom 40 were lost.

The Congregationalists are the leading denomination in town, having a handsome church-edifice and a chapel. For public entertainments, the inhabitants give a ireference to the more intellectual sort, as concerts and lectures. Foxcroft Academy was chartered in 1823,— the first itistitution of the kind north of Bangor, and still flourishing. The village schools are graded. Foxcroft has eight public schoolhouses, valued at $4,000. In 1870 the valuation of estates was $400,109. In 1880 it was $394,675. The rate of taxation in 1880 is stated at $2 on $1,000. The population, according to the census of 1880 is 1,264.

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