History of Gilead, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

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

Gilead lies on the western border of Oxford County, and receives thc Androscoggin River from New Hampshire. It has Riley on the north, Bethel on the east, Fryburg Academy and Batchelder's Grants on the south. The length of the town, east and west, is about 6½ miles, and the width 2 and 3/4. The town is nearly filled with hills and mountains, only the north-eastern and north-western corners and some tracts along the streams being level land. On the north side of the town is a row of three mountains, and on the south are six. From west to east, through the middle of the town, flows the Androscoggin, between these two rows of mountains. Their height varies from 400 to 600 feet. The principal ones are Robinson's Peak, Tumble Down Dick, Peaked Hill and Mount Ephraim. Between Mount Ephraim and Gilead village on the east of it, Wild River conies down from the region of mountains at the southward to the calmer Androscoggin. The water-powers which have been unproved are on Pleasant and Chapman's brooks. The mills are a lumber-mill, a grist-mill, and one manufacturing spool-stock, boxes and staves. The Grand Trunk Railway runs through the length of the town on the south bank of the Androscoggin. The soil is chiefly loam and gravel. The chief crop is hay, which finds a good market with the lumbermen, who make this a starting point for the woods. The currents of air between the mountains are such as in a great measure to protect the crops of the valleys and slopes from the frosts of autumn. A mica mine here is worked profitably.

This town is 35 miles W.N.W. of Paris. The railroad station is 80 miles from Portland. Gilead has a wooden bridge 300 feet in length and a wire bridge of 192 feet.

Gilead was incorporated in 1805, its name being suggested by a large balm of gilead tree not long since still standing in the midst of the town. It was formerly called Peabody's Patent. In 1781 the only two families in town were killed by the Indians. During the the terrible storm of 1826, when occurred the slide in the 'White Mountains which destroyed the Willey family, there were many slides on the mountains in Gilead. From Peaked Hill thousands of tons of earth and rocks with trees came rushing down, destroying every living thing in their course. Through the intense darkness, gleamed the lightning and the long streams of fire caused by the sliding rocks. Among these mountains bears are still to be found, and the early annals of the town are full of thrilling adventures with these beasts. Gilead sent 22 men to aid in the war for the Union in the Rebellion of the South, losing 4.

The town has churches of the Congregationalists and Methodists. The number of public schoolhouses is six, having, with appurtenances, the value of $1,500. The valuation of the estates in 1870 was $74,940. In 1880 it was $72,364. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 4½ per cent. The population in 1870 was 329. In 1880 it was 293.

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