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

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





Minot, in Androscoggin County, was included with Poland and Old Auburn in the grant made by Massachusetts in 1765 to one Baker and others, and the tract was hence called Bakerstown. The entire territory was in 1795 incorporated under the name of Poland. In 1802, the part east of the Little Androscoggin River was incorporated under the name of Minot; and in 1842 Old Auburn was set off from this and incorporated. The name of Ninot appears to have been adopted in honor of Judge Minot, member of the General Court who aided in passing the act of incorporation. Minot, as now constituted, is bounded by Hebron, in Oxford County, on the west, on the north by the same town and Turner, on the east and south-east by Auburn, and on the south and south-west by Poland. These limits contain about 14,270 acres of land. The Little Androscoggin divides the town on the south-west from Poland, and furnishes a fine water-power at Mechanic Falls, the principal village. The first to start in papermaking on the Minot side of the river at this place were Ebenezer Drake and Ezra Mitchell, who erected a mill in 1851. They did a successful business until 1865, when the mill passed into the hands of A. C. Dennison & Co., and was rebuilt. There are also on the Minot side a clothing-factory, a grist-mill, a boot and shoe factory, carriage-factory, etc. The “Mechanic Falls Citizen,” published in this village every Wednesday by Charles S. Allen, is an attractive sheet, devoted chiefly to local news. At Minot Corner is a grist-mill and a carriage-factory, a corn-packing factory, and lesser manufactures. At West Minot there is a flour-mill, saw and shingle mill, and cheese-factory. There is also a grist-mill on the Little Androscoggin a couple of miles above Mechanic Falls. The Grand Trunk Railroad runs near the river for the whole width of the town, a part of the distance within it, furnishing convenient transportation for the villages on the river, while the Rumford Falls and Buckfield Railroad passing through West Mmot connects with the Grand Trunk at Mechanic Falls. Bog Brook, the largest stream within the town, empties into the river near Mechanic Falls, called Bog Falls when first settled. The surface of the town is generally uneven, and in some parts hilly, and affording some picturesque scenery. The soil in most parts of the town is a strong loam, and somewhat stony. Near the river it is lighter. The two industries of manufactures and agriculture makes Minot a thrifty town.

Moses, Josiah and Edward Little were the principal proprietors of the territory, from one or the other of whom most of the present titles come. As in several other towns bordering on the Pejepscot Purchase, there was a great deal of difficulty and ill-feeling in settling with the different claimants. Moses Emery, from Newbury, Mass., was the first settler, having, with his wife and infant daughter, arrived at Poland Empire in the spring of 1769. He first lived in a log house near the locality now known as llackett’s Mills, but two or three years later he removed to what is now Minot Corner, where he had for a neighbor an Anasagunticook Indian. Wild game abounded in the vicinity. Once when looking for his cows, he was confronted by a hear and two cubs. He retreated backward endeavoring to lay hold of a club, and the bear followed grinning and growling with rage, so closely that he could feel her breath on his face. Finding that something must be done at once, he flung off his jacket in order to cast it over the bear’s head. The sudden and peculiar action alarmed the bear, and she turned and went away. At another time he was attacked by a moose, and fled to a tree, the only defence available. The moose pursued, but being able to turn more quickly than the huge beast, he kept away from his pursuers horns and so close to his heels that he succeeded in cutting his hamstings with his pocket-knife. Again while out hunting he was attacked by a moose which his partner had wounded and which his dog was holding by the nose. At Emery’s appearance, the moose freed himself from the dog by swinging him against a tree, then sprang directly at the hunter (whose gun missed fire) with a movement so tremendous that he would doubtless have been killed had not another shot just in the nick of time from his partner’s gun, laid the monster on the ground.

Woodman Hill was first settled in 1780 by John Allen, from Gloucester, Mass.; Seth Sampson and Eliab Washburn came in 1789; aud the Woodmans from New Gloucester,—the first in 1785. West Minot was first settled in 1781 by John Bridgham, who had been a captain in the Revolutionary army. Hersey Hill vicinity was first settled by the Freeman’s and Bradford’s, who were from Duxbury, Mass., in 1783. The Chandlers arrived soon after. Pottle Hill, was numerously settled by the Waterman’s, Dwinals, Davis and Harris, in 1789. Mechanic Falls (Bog Falls) was first settled in 1836, by Dean Andrew, from Taunton, Mass.; soon followed Peter Thayer, Amos Chipman, and others.

Chandler Freeman, a. member of the Congregational church in Duxbury, instituted the first regular public worship on the Lord’s Day, in 1784. The meeting was held in the house of his son, Chandler Freeman, at which the inhabitants of the northern part of the present town generally attended. Mr. Freeman, senior, usually read the the sermons, made the prayers and led the singing. The first church was established here in 1791 by the efforts of Rev. Wait Cornwell, of Connecticut. It was of the Congregationalist denomination. The Congregationalists, Baptists, Free Baptists, now have each a church in town; the Methodists have two, and there is one Union church.

In 1793 Rev. Jonathan Scott came to Bakerstown (including Minot) from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in response to a letter of invitation which had been six months in reaching him. He was settled as pastor in 1796. The second Congregational church was formed in 1806. The first pastor was Rev. William Pidgin, installed in 1811. The West Minot and Hebron Congregational church was organized in 1802. Rev. Henry Sewall was ordained over it the same year. The first Methodist church was formed in 1795 by the labors of Rev. Joel Ketchum. The first Baptist church at Mechanic Falls was organized in 1857. The first pastor was Rev. A. K. P. Small. The first Universalist church also was organized at Mechanic Falls in 1857. The first preacher was Rev. Z. Thompson. Dr. Jesse Rice was the first physician who practised in town; but in 1800, losing three children by scarlet fever, which prevailed that year, he invited Dr. Seth Chandler, a native of Dnxbury, Mass., to fill his place; and when Dr. Chandler arrived, Dr. Rice ceased practice. He was afterwards much occupied in town affairs. Hon. Stephen Emery, judge of Probate in Oxford County, was a native of Minot. The most noted citizen of the town was William Ladd, a retired shipmaster, the first advocate of the settlement of international disputes by arbitration. He was the principal founder of the American Peace Society.

The call for men in the war of the Rebellion was promptly met by Minot. She was represented by 206 men in the service, 133 of whom had been residents of the town. Eight of these enlisted in the quota of other towns. Some returned with broken constitutions, others were maimed for life; of whom was Captain H. T. Buckman, who lost an arm. The loss during the war was 31 men. The amount of bounties paid by the town was $43.590. The total expenses were $49,284.

The first schools were private. Of those who taught schools of this class are remembered Samuel Shaw, at the Centre, Master Bray, on Bradbury Hill, John Chandler and his sister, on Hersey Hill. Nathan Hanson taught the first public school in town. There are now nine public schoolhouses, valued at $11,000. One at Mechanic Falls, built a few years ago, is of brick, two-stories in height, cost $8,500, a part of which expense fell upon Poland, some of whose pupils it accommodates. The valuation of estates in 1870, was $610,511. In 1880 it was $720,549. The population in 1870 was 1,569. In 1880 it was 1,764.

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