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

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

Monson is situated in the south-western part of Piscataquis County. Shirley and Elliotsville are on the north, Howard Township on the east, Blanchard on the west, and Abbott on the south. The Bangor and Piscataquis Railway passes through the south-west corner, and the stage-line from Dexter to Moosehead Lake, through the centre of the town. Hebron, Monson, Doe and Spectacle ponds are the principal bodies of water, the first and largest being 3 miles long and 1 wide. Child’s Falls, where the water descends 75 feet are interesting. The Piscataquis River runs across the south-west corner. The other streams are Wilson’s and the outlet of Hebron Pond, upon which, at the village near the centre of the town, are lumber-mills and a grist mill. Doughty Hill is the highest elevation of land. Much of the surface is low and stony, and has never been cleared, but perhaps half the area is a light, loamy soil, of an excellent quality for the crops raised hay, oats, wheat and potatoes. The principal business is slate mining, in which four or more companies are engaged.

Monson Academy in Massachusetts, and Hebron Academy in Maine were each granted a tract 3 miles in width and 6 in length in the township, but being 7 miles one way instead of 6, a strip 1 mile wide was left at the north end unappropriated. The trustees of Monson Academy, learning of this, petitioned and obtained it.

Joseph Bearce felled the first opening in 1815, and the next summer—famous as the cold season—put in his first crop. George Doughty and Simeou Irish, with Mr. Bearce, brought in their families in 1818. Mr. Bearce put up a pair of Moose-horns on a stout pole to mark the point where a path turned off northward toward the centre of the township. The fork of these roads has ever continued at this point under the name of Moosehorns, Other early settlers were James Stinchfield, Captain Amasa Chapin, Captain Samuel Whitney, William A. Hyde, Calvin Colton, Deacons Lucius Hyde and Abel Goodell, Royal Day, Austin Newell, and Horatio Sherman. Messrs. Whitney, Hyde and Fay, made a clearing on the site of Monson Village, and built a dam in 1820, and a saw and grist mill in 1821. Deacon Andrew Cushman, Hiram Vinton, Isaac Tyler and Austin Newell came in 1822. In this year the town was incorporated. The first meeting was held, pursuant to a warrant from Samuel Pingree, Esq., at the dwelling-house of Messrs. Whitney and Hyde. In 1823, Alexander Greenwood, Esq., who surveyed most of the townships in this vicinity, moved into Monson. His death occurred by the fall of a tree while he was superintending a drive, and the falls where the sad incident took place has ever since borne his name.

A private school, free to all who could attend, was taught in the winter of 1821—22 by Deacon Lucius Hyde, in the house of James Stinchfield. The next winter Father Sawyer taught the first town school, and preached to the people on the Sabbath. Dr. Aipheus Davison, the first physician, settled in town in 1823. In 1824 other citizens of note came in, among whom were John Crafts, Solomon Cushman and Oliver Eveleth. In the same year the first post-office was established, F. F. Gates being the first post-master. The Doughty boys, succeeded by Benjamin Stinchfield, were the first mail-carriers, making the trip on foot between Monson and the next post-office at Guilford, 10 miles distant. In 1827, Deacon Thomas Fuller carried the mail in a carriage between Monson and Bangor. The town suffered much damage in its woodland from the great fire of 1825. The Congregationalist meeting-house was finished and dedicated in 1831, and was the first house for public worship erected in the county. The Baptists also have a good church-edifice. In 1835, the farmers suffered much loss by the swindling operation of a real estate sharper. An academy was chartered in 1849, being the second in the county.

On April 22, 1872, the fiftieth aniversary of the first town-meeting, a celebration was held at Academy Hall. It was presided over by Aretas Chapin, Esq., Rev. R. W. Emerson offered the prayer, and Mr. Charles Davison, a native of the town, gave an historical address. Rev. A. H. Tyler, and Hon. S. A. Patton, made interesting remarks, and preceptor William S. Knowlton read a. witty historical poem. Hon. John H. Rice, member of the 38th and 39th Congress, and Hon. E. Flint, secretary of state in 1864, were formerly citizens of Monson. There are resident in the town four persons over ninety years old, and ten who are above eighty.

From a population of 708, Monson furnished 84 men for the army of the Union. Of these 6 were killed on the field of battle, 16 died of wounds or disease, and 16 others were wounded.

No newspaper is now published in Monson, but many are read. At the date of the celebration, it was stated in the historical address that there were taken in town 5 daily, and 173 weekly newspapers, and 6 semi-monthly, and 84 monthly periodicals. Monson has seven public schoolhouses, valued at $2,500. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $134,520. In 1880 it was $159,461. The rate of taxation in 1880 is 1 1/3 per cent. The population in 1870 was 608. In 1880 it was 827.

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