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

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




Guilford is situated in the south-western part of Piscataquis County, 8 miles from Dover, having the Piscataquis River for its southern line. Howard Plantation bounds it on the North, Foxcroft on the east, Sangerville on the south, and Abbott on the west. The Bangor and Piscataquis Railway passes through Guilford Village and the south-west corner of the town, and it is on the stage-line from Dexter to Moosehead Lake. The township was originally 6 miles square, but a small portion south of Piscataquis River was annexed to Sangerville. There are several small bodies of water, of which the outlets of Davis and Salmon ponds furnish power for mills manufacturing large and small lumber. The northern part of the town is much broken, the highest eminence being Guilford Mountain. The southern part is of more uniform surface, having some productive farms. The chief products are wheat, oats, barley and potatoes. In 1879, $25,000 worth of potatoes were shipped from Guilford depot; a considerable portion of them, however, coming from neighboring towns. The rock is lime, granite and slate, and the soil a sandy loam.

The principal manufactories are on the Piscataquis at Guilford Village. These consist of a woolen-mill, which produces about 625 yards of repellant cloth per day; of mills for small and large lumber, and a grist-mill. There are, besides, the usual manufactures of a village. A new brick cloth-mill is now completed.

Guilford township was one of those conveyed to Bowdoin College by Massachusetts. Robert Low, Jr., was the first settler, moving in with his family in 1806; and Robert Herring, Jr., came about three weeks later. Isaac, Nathaniel and John Bennett came soon after and made clearings and put up buildings. These first settlers, for want of a threshing floor, beat out their wheat upon a smooth, flat ledge. When winter came, the three Bennetts returned to their homes at New Gloucester for the winter, leaving their three boys, David, Joseph and Isaac, Jr.-aged, the two first thirteen years, and the other eleven.-to keep the house and attend to the cow. For food, the boys had milk, hulled corn, boiled wheat and roasted potatoes. In 1807 the families came permanently, also that of Mr. John Everton. The wife of the latter was an important accession to the new settlement. She was skilled in obstetrics, and for ten years was very useful for a long distance about, when she was greatly disabled by a fall from a horse. Deacon R. Herring brought in his family in 1808, and from this time religious meetings were held upon the Sabbath. When the settlement consisted of eight or ten men they held a formal meeting, choosing officers and passing such rules and regulations as good order and good feeling in the settlement required. No penalties were attached to these rules, yet the honor of the members of the community were so much involved in their observance that they were obeyed far better than most of our legislative statutes have been. In 1812 Caleb Leavitt came in from Athens, and, by virtue of a legal warrant, organized the quiet little borough of "Lowstown" into Plantation No. 6, 7th range. In 1816 the inhabitants petitioned the General Court for incorporation as the town of Fluvanna. The court granted the act of incorporation, but changed the name to Guilford. The first town meeting was called by a warrant from Samuel Pingree to Joseph Kelsey. Sixty-three years later, there lived but three of those who voted at that meeting- Elias Davis, Zebulon P. Grover and Isaac B. Wharf. There are Baptist, Universalist and Methodist societies in town, all these having church-edifices. The buildings generally are fresh and neat in their appearance, and the Odd-Fellows' Hall and a new school-house add to the beauty of this thrifty village. Guilford has eight public schoolhouses, 277 registered scholars, and expended for school purposes from April 1. 1878, to April 1, 1879, $1,094. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $213,091. In 1880 it was $253,578. The rate of taxation in 1880 was 2 cents on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 818. By the census of 1880 it was 881.

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