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

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





Lewiston is practically the centre of Androscoggin County, and is nearly so geographically. It is situated upon the Androscoggin River, which separates it from Auburn on the west and south. Greene bounds it on the north, Webster and Lisbon on the east. The soil is largely a clay loam, but a gravelly loam on the high lands. The surface is quite hilly, but there are no lofty eminences. David's Mountain, near Bates' College, and Mitchell's Hill are each nearly 500 feet above the sea, and are the chief eminences. The former has its name from Mr. David Davis, whose heirs have given a lot on its summit to the college for an observatory. It is near the valley at the fails of the Androscoggin, in which goes on the principaI business of the two cities of Lewiston and Auburn, and its summit affords a wide circle of varied and pleasing landscape. The falls of the Androscoggin at this place furnish attractive views from several points. On the river road, about one mile above Barker's Mills and three miles from the falls, is a locality where a steep wooded hill comes down close to the shore of the river, which has here just come down the rapids at Boxer's Island, and beats its swells against a rocky shore, which at one point gives way to a sandy slope, forming a little beach. For the distance of a mile the scene is quite wild and beautiful. The place is variously named "The Gulf" or "Switzerland" according as reference is had to the water or to the hill features of the picture. Here, as in other parts of the town, the rock crops out. It is, in general, gneissic in its character, intermixed with some granite and an impure limestone. No-name Pond, situated near the eastern angle of the town, is the only consid
erable sheet of still water. It is about a mile long, and is half a mile wide at its widest part. The falls, which furnish the water-power of Lewiston, are the third on the river, reckoning from tide-water, which is about 20 miles distant. The descent is formed by a ledge of gneiss and inica-schist which crosses the river diagonally, and is so extended as to form the bed of the river above and below the falls. The rock is above water level on the eastern shore, and on the western rises to a little hill; while in the stream it forms two islands of over half an acre of extent. The natural fall is about 38 feet, which is increased to 50 by the excellent stone darn. There is a tradition that a terrible catastrophe happened at these falls to the Indian tribe dwelling on the river above. The story varies considerably, but the most credible version is that two scouts in search of a party of Indians who had carried a girl away captive, encountered at the falls, near night, an Indian who had just landed from a canoe, and was gathering material for a fire at a point just above the falls where it would serve as a beacon. They killed the Indian; and suspecting a large body of Indians to be coming down the river in canoes, they quickly retired to a bill below but in view of the falls, and in a line with the point where the Indian was preparing the beacon. Here they kindled a fire, and lured by its deceitful ray beyond the point of safety into the swift rapids, they were unable to escape, and all went over the fall and perished.

The territory comprising the city of Lewiston was included in the Pejepscot Patent, granted to Thomas Purchase and George 'Way in 1632. On the death of the two original proprietors, most of the tract became the property of Richard Wharton, a Boston lawyer. To make his title secure, he obtained in 1684 a deed of this territory from Warumbee, and five other sagamores of the Anasagunticooks. On Wharton's death his administrator, in 1714, sold the claim to Thomas Hutchinson, John Wentworth, Adam Winthrop, John Watts, David Jeifries, Stephen Minot, Oliver Noyes, and John Rusk for £140. These persons were commonly styled the Pejepscot Proprietors, and their lands were called the Pejepscot Claim. Its limits were finally fixed on the western side of the river at Lewiston Falls, and on the eastern side so as to embrace about two-thirds of what is now the town of Leeds. On the east side of the river there was a difficulty in regard to the boundary rights of this and the Kennebec purchase, both on Merrymeeting Bay and at the extremest northern part of the Pejepscot Claim. By the action of the courts of Cumberland and Lincoln the entire line was settled in 1814. The grant under which Lewiston was settled was made by the proprietors to Jonathan Bagley and Moses Little, of Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1768. The territory commenced at the falls and extended 5 miles up the river, from thence in a northeast course 5 miles, from thence in a south-east course 4 miles, from thence on a southern course to Androscoggin River, and from this point up the river to the falls, whence it started. The conditions were that Bagley and Little should settle 50 families in as many houses within the limits before June, 1774, and should also clear a road to Royalsboroughi (Durham) to meet one to be constructed to Topsham. The houses were to be 16 by 20 feet, and of 7 feet posts. The name of the town was to be "Lewiston." The first settler was Paul Hildreth, who, in the summer of 1770, built his log cabin just below where the Continental Mills now stand. The first ferry in town was established by him about three-fourths of a mile below the falls. Mr. David Pettingill, the second settler, came in the fall of 1770. Lawrence J. Harris, third settler, caine and erected the frame of the first saw-mill in the fall of 1770, and brought his family in the spring. He owned several lots by gift from the proprietors and by purchase; the most valuable one being the mill lot at the falls, and comprising 100 acres. He built his house on what is now known as Lower Main street, and on the site now occupied by Garcelon Block. After his death one of his sons sold the mill lot and 15 acres of land to Colonel Josiah Little. Amos Davis moved from New Gloucester to Lewiston in 1774. He was a farmer, surveyor, and shoemaker. He surveyed a part of the town for the proprietors in 1773, and made a plan in 1795. He gave the ground for the old burying-ground on Sabattus street, and erected at his own expense a small building within its present enclosure, which was occupied some years as a meeting-house and schoolhouse. He was a leading member of the Society of Friends, and a very examplary man. His son David was the. 2d male child born in Lewiston. Israel Herrick, Jesse Wright, and Jacob Barker came in 1774. James Garcelon came in the following year, and soon after settled at what has since been called Garcelon's Ferry. His father was Rev. Peter Garcelon, a native and a resident of the Isle of Guernsey. James emigrated at thirteen years of age. He was a member of the first board of selectmen. His son Jcmes was for many years a Baptist clergyman; William was one of the first merchants in town, was engaged in lumbering, and also in shipbuilding in Freeport. Josiah Mitchell came in 1776. and Jonathan Hodgkins in 1777. James Ames came in 1785, carrying on the business of blacksmithing in connection with farming. Previous to this the people had been obliged to go to New Gloucester for blacksmith's work. lie also kept a publie-house for many years. Dan Read came in 1788. Te was subsequently one of the board of selectmen for twenty-six years, chairman of the board for twelve years, town-clerk fifteen years, representative to the General Court of Massachusetts in 1804-5, and representative to the Legislature of Maine in 1820, 1823 and 1825. lie was also the first post-master of Lewiston, to which office he was appointed in 1795 by Washington, a position which he held forty years, lacking three months. He died in 1854. Ebenezer 11am, grandfather of Colonel Ham, came in 1789.

Lewiston was incorporated as a town in 1795, and as a city in 1861, and its government organized 1863. Jacob 13. Ham was the first mayor. Only three persons who were residents of Lewiston are now known to have been in the Revolutionary war. These were David Pettengill, who died in the army, Benjamin Pettengill, son of the former, and Joel Thompson. After the close of the Revolution a number who had served in the war settled in Lewiston. In the war of 1812-15, the town was more numerously represented in the army. Oliver ilerrick raised a company in this and the adjoining towns, which started for Lake Champlain in January, 1813. A part of them were shortly ordered on board the Growler, and took part in the disastrous action of July 2, 1813, in which the Growler and the Eagle surrendered to the enemy. in September, 1814, the regiment raised in this vicinity, under the command of Colonel Walter R. Blaisdell, of Lewiston, was ordered out, but went into camp at Pittston on the Kennebec, and then returned. A small number were drafted from the two companies from Lewiston,-the North company, under the command of Captain Nathaniel Sleeper, and tile South company, coinmanded by Captain George Williams,,-remnaining in service for some months. In the war of the Rebellion, Lewiston furnished two companies for the 1st Maine regiment. These were commanded by N. J. Jackson and Silas B. Osgood. Jackson was promoted to the command of the regiment and Lieutenant Jesse T. Stevens succeeded to the captaincy. The regiment started for Washington on the 1st of June, and was stationed in that city during its term of service. Colonel Jackson was subsequently promoted to be brigadier-general. Edward Ilsley, a cadet from West Point, in the summer of 1861 recruited a company in Lewiston for the Fifth Maine regiment. Lieutenants Knowlton and Nye also recruited here a large proportion of two companies for the Tenth regiment, becoming captains of companies F and K, respectively. After having passed through several hard-fought campaigns, the regiment was mustered out in May, 1863. Captains Knowlton and Nye soon after recruited two companies for the Twentyninth regiment, in which Captain Knowlton was commissioned major. The regiment was in the Red River campaign under General Banks, then returned and took part in the series of battles in the Shenandoah Valley, where in September, 1864, Major Knowlton was mortally wounded. Company A of the Twenty-third regiment, largely recruited in Lewiston, was employed in Maryland and Virginia on guard-duty. The city furnished a large number of men for cempany D, Captain William H. Ham (Thirty-second regiment), reaching the seat of war in season to take part in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsvlvania, and Cold Harbor,-where on the 3d of June, Colonel Ham was mortally wounded. Few, if any, regiments left the State which did not not contain some representative of Lewiston. Only 16 of the 1,158 soldiers credited to this city were drafted. During the war aid was furnished to 765 soldiers' families, at an expense of $31,970.26; and for bounties there was paid tile sum of $100,275. The monument erected in the park soon after the war to the memory of the fallen brave was executed by Frank Simmons. It has a square 4ranite base, 10 feet in height, surmounted by the figure of a soldier in bronze, heroic size. On the faces of the base are bronze tablets ocaring the names of the 112 officers and soldiers who fell in the struggle for liberty and union for America.

The park in which the monument stands is not far from the mills, and is near the centre of the city. It contains about 10 acres of grassy turf, divided by broad, smooth walks. Around it are several fine buildings, both private and public. Bates Street, on tile upper side of the park, is notable for its large and pleasant dwellings, and the elegant Baptist church of brick and granite. Opposite this, separated from the common by Spruce Street, is the Episcopal church, of the last material; while on Pine Street, directly opposite at the other, or eastern end, northern side of the park, is the large and handsome Congregational church. On the same street, a little further west, and fronting on the park, is the De Witt House, an imposing building of brick. It is wholly occupied as a hotel except the lower rooms on Park Street the western side, which are occupied by the offices of the Franklin Company, and the Union Water-power Company. On Park Street, on the west side of the northern part of the park, is the city building, a noble structure of brick and granite, in partially gothic style, but having a mansard roof. The leading feature of the building is the large hail on the side next the park, which is 80 by 165 feet in dimensions, and has seating capacity for 2,500 people. The entire cost was above $20O,06O. Numerous shade trees of the various kinds, though young, ornament the park amid many of tile streets. Another important public work is the water-works for supplying the city with water. These are on the reservoir system. The water is pumped into the reservoir 220 feet above the river, and thence distributed through the pipes. The power used in this instance is that of the fall ; and the river is also the source of supply. A marked feature of the city proper is the several canals leading the water from the river to the different mills. The bridges spanning these, the river and railroad crossings, number above two dozen, several of them being of iron. The healthiness of the inhabitants of the city proper is further provided for by an excellent system of sewerage. The city is lighted by gas, by the Lewiston Gas-Light Company.

The oldest of the manufacturing corporations until recently in operation in the city is the Lewiston Falls Manufacturing Company, making woollen cloths, which was organized in 1834, and commenced operations the same year. Its capital stock was $80,000. The property has flow passed into the hands of D. Cowan & Co. The Franklin Company was incorporated in 1847. It owns the brick mill building on the bank of the river between the mill just mentioned and the falls (occupied as a grain-mill and by D. Cowan & Company as a woollen-factory), the Lincoln Mill, the DeWitt House, several shops and other buildings, and several hundred acres of hand about the more thickly settled parts of the city. Its capital stock is $1,000,000. The Union Water-power Company was organized in 1878, to manage the water-power which had been the property of the Franklin Company. It owns the water-power property of the Androscoggin River in Lewiston, including dam, canals and shore-rights, Auburn Lake, and the water-rights of two or more of the Rangeley Lakes, letting its power to the numerous mills at a uniform rental. Its capital stock is $400,000. There are six corporations engaged in the manufacture of cotton. The Lincoln Mill, owned by tile Franklin Company, commenced manufacturing in 1846, and is the oldest cotton-mill in the city. It consists of one building of brick, and has 21,744 spindles. Other factories are these: the Bates Manufacturing Company, with a capital stock of $1,000,000; the Hill Manufacturing Company, capital stock, $1,000,000; Continental Mills, $1,500,000; Lewiston Mills; Androscoggin Mills, $1,000,000; Lewiston Bleachery and Dye Works, $300,000; Lewiston Machine Company, $100,000. The Continental Mills has the largest number of spindles, viz., 70,000. It employs 1,200 operatives,-900 females and 300 males; and its monthly pay-roll and disbursements in Lewiston amount to $40,000. It manufactures 17,500,000 yards of brown sheetings annually. The mill is of brick, five stories high, with a mansard roof, and contains eight acres of flooring. The total annual production of cotton cloth by these factories is upwards of 50,000,000 yards. Other manufactories are the Lewiston Bleachery and Dye Works, Lewiston Machine Company, Lewiston Gas-Light Company, D. Cowan & Company (woollens), Cumberland Mills (woollens), R. C. Pingree & Company's saw-mill, Lewiston Steam Mill Company (lumber). Barker's Mills (saw-mill) a file-factory, the Morton, Ham, and Tarbox grain-mills, loom-harness, belt and roll, seed, last, paper-box, boy's coat and confectionery factories, two carriage and sleigh factories, several carpentry and machine shops, etc. The total amount of capital invested in manufactures is near $7,250,000. The total number of spindles in the cotton-mills is 291,806. The number of setts of woolen-machinery is fifteen. The consumption of cotton in the last year was 23,123,253 pounds. or about 53,000 bales. The number of females employed in the factories is 4,500; the number of males, 3,000. rrhe total annual disbursements in the city of the manufactories is $2,880,000, or $240,000 per month for all purposes. The city has two savings banks, and two national banks. The Maine Central Railroad connects it directly with Portland on one hand, and Bangor on the other; the Lewiston and Auburn branch railroad connects it with the Grand Trunk road; the Androscoggin branch connects it again with the Maine Central at Brunswick, and the Farmington branch forms the only railroad connection with Franklin County.

In the account of a manufacturing city like Lewiston, some history of this industry seems to be in place. The first saw-mill, as before stated, was built by L. J. Harris in 1710-1, near the falls, and was burnt about 1785. Some three years later he put in a grist-mill, probably the first in Lewiston. Colonel Little in 1809 put up a building on the same site, which was used for a saw, grist and fulling-mill and carding-machine. The mill was burnt in 1814, was rebuilt, and stood until about 1850. The Water-power Company who had bought land and water privileges of Colonel Josiah Little and others, in 1851 built a saw-mill at the head of the falls, and excavated a canal to supply the power. Captain Daniel Holland leased the mill, but it was burned in 1852. It was rebuilt, and in 1856 leased to S. R. Bearce & Co. Its site is now occupied by tile City Water works. In 1865 S. R. Bearce & Co. built a large steam-mill at a cost of $60,000 on the margin of the river, above the station of the Maine Central railroad. It employs about 200 men. A steam-mill built at Barker's Mills in 1847 by Read, Small & Co., at a cost of $7,500, was burned in 1852, and rebuilt the same year. In 1859 it was purchased by James Wood & Co., and removed to the shore of the Androseoggin River, about one-half mile above the Maine Central railroad station. In 1860 a company was formed with a capital of $50,000 (since doubled) and incorporated under the name of Lewiston Steam Mill Company. The company owns about 35,000 acres of woodland on the upper waters of the Androscoggin and its tributaries. In 1775 Jacob Barker built a grist-mill at Barker's Mills, and some two years later a sawmill. These mills were rebuilt once or twice by his son, and once (about 1836) by his grandson. About 1800 a saw-mill was built on the rips opposite Boxer's Island, which was burned about 1812. There was at one the a saw-mill on the Stetson Brook, which was removed to Auburn. About 1800, Colonel Joel Thompson, Captain Isaac Cotton and Captain Joseph Dill erected a mill at the outlet of No-name Pond, where they manufactured ship-timber.

In 1819 Colonel Josiah Little procured the services of Mr. Dean Frye, of Brunswick, to aid in carrying on his carding and fulling-mill. This was burned in 1829, but in 1830 the woolen-mill now standing was built; where some the after they began the manufacture of satinet. Larger capital being required, a charter for the Lewiston Falls Manufacturing Company was obtained from the legislature in 1834. This was the first charter for manufacturing purposes in Lewiston. The corporators were John M. Frye amid William fi. Frye, Sons of Dean Frye. A brick building was added in 1836; but a heavy spring freshet in 1837 undermined the wall, causing the building to fall into the river. The manufacture of cotton in Lewiston was begun soon after 1836 by Mr. Ephralm Wood, who manufactured cotton warps and batting. Mr. Joseph B. Harding succeeded Mr. Wood, and about 1844 put in three cotton looms, and wove the first cottoncloth manufactured in Lewiston. Mr. Harding removed to Yarmouth, and about 1850 the building was partially destroyed by fire, and the remainder removed to make room for the present brick grist-mill building near the falls. In 1836 the Great Androscoggin Falls Dam, Locks and Canal Company was incorporated with a capital of $100,000. The company owned the water-power of the Androscoggin at Lewiston, together with a large amount of land in the vicinity on both sides of the river. In 1845 the name was changed to "Lewiston Water-power Company," which increased the extent and value of its property until 1856; when the newly-formned Franklin Company, with a capital of $1,000,000, succeeded to the ownership.

With the industrial growth of Lewiston her educational institutions have been multiplied and developed. The Maine State Seminary was incorporated in 1856, with an endowment by the State of $15,000. In 1863 a collegiate course of study was instituted, and the name of the institution changed to Bates College, in honor of Benj. E. Bates, of Boston, its most munificent patron. From him, and by his aid the college has received $100,000, while a similar amount was a few years ago promised by him on condition that the friends of the college raised an equal sum within five years. Rev. O. B. Cheney has been president of the institution since its foundation. The college graduated its first class in 1867. The Nichols Latin School is the preparatory school for the college; and the buildings of the two institutions are located near each other. The college has thirteen free scholarships. A theological department was instituted, in connection with the college, in 1870, having before been located in New Hampshire. The college has a library of 6,000 volumes, a theological library of 2,000 volumes, and society libraries of near 2,000 volumes. There is another library in town containing about 8,000 volumes, which is available to all citizens by the payment of a small annual fee.

The "Lewiston Journal" was the first newspaper published in the city, the first number having been issued May, 1847. It was published by William H. Waldron & Co., Dr. Alonzo Garcelon being partner with Mr. Waidron, Nelson Dingley, Jr., purchased an interest in it in 1856, and a year later he became the sole proprietor. The "Journal" is now recognized as one of the ablest, as it is one of the best patronized paper in the State. Besides the weekly, the establishment publishes a daily journal of three editions. A younger brother, Frank L. Dingley, is associated in the management. Mr. Dingley (senior proprietor) was governor of Maine in 1873 and 1874, but declined a re-election; and in 1881 he was elected a member of Congress. Mr. Waldron in 1872 started the "Lewiston Gazette," which he published until his death in 1881. It is a newsy and interesting sheet, conservatively democratic in politics. It is now bi-weekly, btiug issued Tuesday and Friday. Other papers and periodicals of the city are "The Bates' Student," published monthly by the students of Bates College; the "Maine Independent," issued every Saturday, by Weeks & Stetson, and devoted to literature and humor; the "Maine Messenger," a religious sheet, published monthly, by N. C. Dinsmore; and "Le Messager," published every Thursday, by L. J. Martel & Co., which is devoted to the interests of the Freuch inhabitants of the city.

The land about the falls was originally quite rough, marked by deep gullies, and sandy knolls, with abundance of clay on the slopes, which have supplied and are still supplying many bricks; but the hand of improvement has rapidly subdued the rudeness of nature; and lawns, and thriving shade trees fill most of the spaces between the dwellings and other buildings, many of which are large and elegant. Among the larger residences may be noted that of Hon. William P. Frye, member of Congress sinee .1871, of Colonel J. M. Frye, J. L. H. Cobb, Esq., several on Bates amid other streets. The Roman Catholics have two churches in the city, one of them of superior beauty. The Congregationalist society also has a fine edifice, previously referred to. The Universalists have a fine church overlooking the park. The church of the Baptist society is an elegant building, and the Episcopal church near by is a substantial edifice. The Methodists have two churches, one of wood, the other of brick; and the Free Baptists have also one of brick and one of wood. The Society of Friends have a small but neat and elegant little meeting-house on College street.

The schools of Lewiston are noted for their excellence. They are graded according to the best system, and the school buildings in the rural as well as in the thickly settled parts are creditable to the city. The number of public schoolhouses is thirty; and the value of the school property belonging to the city is $178,000. The valuation of the estates in Lewiston in 1870 was $8,813,629. In 1880 it was $9,930,407. The rate of taxation in 1880 was 0024 on the dollar. The population at that date was 13,600. In 1880, it was 19,086. See Auburn.

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