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

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





Lebanon is situated midway of the northern side of York County, adjoining New Hampshire, and separated from it by the Salmon Falls River. It is bounded by Acton on the north, Sanford on the east, and North Berwick and Berwick on the south. Its area is about 26,000 acres. The township was granted and confirmed to Joseph Chadbourne, Nathan Lord, Joseph Hartt, tchabod Goodwin, Edward Arnold, Elisha Plaisted, and 54 others, their associates; and. all hands are held by this title. No portion of the land in the township was ever conveyed by an Indian deed. It is said that no evidence exists of its ever having been occupied as a dwelling-place by the Indians, except possibly by a few families beside the pond at the extreme north-west corner of the town. The first settlement was chiefly in school district No. 1. The surnames of the first settlers were Farnham, Copp, Door, Hussey, Rines, Stevens, Blaisdell, Tebbetts, Kenney, Wallingford, McCrelis, Perkins, Corson, Burrows, Goodwin, Yeaton, Furbush and Cowell, who appear to have come in soon after 1746. Two garrison houses were built in 1755. The original proprietors were required by their charter to build a meeting-house, and settle and maintain a learned arid orthodox minister for the inhabitants, and build him a house. The meeting-house was erected in 1753, and the parsonage in 1759. In 1761 or 1762 the town hired Ezra Thompson to preach and teach school, and his labors in these depart ments appear to have been the first in town. The settlement was at first known as “Towow” or “Towwoh.” The town was incorporated under its present name in 1767. Thomas M. Wentworth, who became a resident of the town soon after 1771, was a leading citizen, and his son has been held in equal esteem. The surface of the town is comparatively level in the south-east, and in the north-west are extensive pine plains. The highest of several high hills bears the name of Wentworth’s Mountain. On the road leading from Berwick through West Lebanon Village to Acton, after leaving the flat land at the south, are found many good farms and fine country mansions. The best farming land is probably on the “Central Road,” extending north-west and south-west through the midst of the town. There are also a large number of good farms in the easterly part of the town adjoining Sanford. Hay is considered tile most profitable crop. The business centres are Lebanon Centre, East, North, South and West Lebanon, and Milton Three Ponds, on the lower of the ponds at the north-western boundary. Salmon Falls River, which forms the western boundary, furnishes a number of good water privileges, upon which, on the Lebanon side, are several saw-mills and one mill for wool-carding. Little River, in the south-eastern part of the town, also furnishes power for several saw-mills and a grist-mill. The Portland and Rochester Railroad crosses the southerly part of the town, and the Great Falls and Conway, a short distance at the north-western part.

The chief natural curiosity of the town is “Gully Oven,” situated in a deep ravine. It is on the road from West Lebanon Village to. Acton, and one and one-half miles northerly of the former. Six miles south of the cavern, during the old French war, the Indians captured a boy of eleven years of age named Philip Door; and they spent the succeeding night in the Oven. He was detained many years, but finally returned and became one of the first settlers of Lebanon. He said that he was captured by the Indians in the forenoon as he sat astride of a fence singing a popular song of the period,—

“As sure as eggs are bacon,
I’ll go to Canada and wont return,
Till Canada is taken,”—

which came true, sure enough.

During the war of the Rebellion, Lebanon furnished what would be equal to 121 three-years men for the army. Besides these, many young men, residents of the town, at the first breaking out of the war enlisted in New Hampshire regiments, for which the town never received credit from the authorities. The amount of bounties paid by the town was $40,000.

Lebanon has a Baptist and a Congregationalist church, and two Free Baptist churches. There is a good academy at West Lebanon; beside which there are in town nineteen public schoolhouses, valued at $4,500. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $524,575. In 1880 it was $425,050. The population at the first date was 1,953. In 1880, it was 1,601.

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