History of New Sharon, Maine
From
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

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




New Sharon is situated in the southern part of Franklin County, and is the most easterly of its towns. It is bounded on the north by Industry, west by Farmington, south by Chesterville, and by Vienna in Kennebec County, arid east by Mercer in Somerset County. The length of the town from north to south is about 12 miles. The area is 28,600 acres. The surface is agreeably diversified, but is without high hills or deep valleys. Cape Cod and Hampshire Hills are the chief elevations. The rocks are gneiss, slate, an impure lime. stone, with perhaps, some granite. In the woods are found a large variety of trees, maple, beech, birch, ash, hemlock, fir, spruce, pine, poplar, cedar, and others. The soil is sandy in the river valleys; next above this is a clay loam, and away from the river a sandy loam or other light soil. It is quite productive; and numerous small fortunes have been gathered from the profits of New Sharon farms. Much of this money has gone to develop new towns and States in the West. The village of New Sharon is one of the prettiest in the State. It is situated on both sides of the Sandy River, where a natural fall is increased by a darn, and the stream spanned by an expensive covered bridge. The railroad station at Farmington, 9 miles distant, and the station in Belgrade, 16 miles distant, furnish the nearest railroad connections; but a narrow-gauge railroad to Farmington is contemplated. There is a daily stage from New Sharon to both these places. McGurdy Pond, 1 mile long by 1½ mile wide, is the largest sheet of water. The streams are Sandy River, which crosses the middle of the town toward the north-east, and Muddy Brook, running southward to Sandy River through the northern part. Gold is found near the bed of this river, but full test of the quantity has not yet been made. The villages are New Sharon, on Sandy River near the centre of the town; Week’s Mills, on Muddy Brook, two or three miles north of the last; and East New Sharon, half-way from the centre to the south-east of the town. There are operated in New Sharon three saw-mills, a gristmill. and chair, shoe, shovel-handle, carriage and clothing factories.

The township of New Sharon was granted to Prince Baker and others, by the State of Massachusetts, in 1791, and was settled so rapidly that in 1794 it was incorporated. Mr. Baker thmself was the earliest settler. He was followed by Nathaniel Tibbits, Benjamin Chambers, Benjamin Rollins, James Howes and Samuel Prescott. This township is stated by Williamson [Hist. of Maine, vol. 2, p. 514] to have been a part of the tract granted to the representatives of Capt. William Tyng and his company in consideration of their services and sufferings during a dangerous pursuit of the Indian enemy upon snowshoes during the first winter of Queen Anne’s war (1734). It was therefore first called Tyngstown. It was afterward named Unity, finally taking its present name of New Sharon.

Abel Baker built the first mills at the falls in 1801. They afterward passed into the hands of Abel Mayhew, by whom they were rebuilt and much improved. The bridge across the Sandy River at this village was first erected about 1809 or 1810, and has since been rebuilt with solid stone abutments. The town hail is a substantial brick building, two stories in height.

The climate of the region is salubrious; and there reside in the town five persons who are upwards of ninety years old, eighteen who are between eighty and ninety, and sixty-three who are between seventy and eighty. New Sharon furnished 166 men tothe Union cause, during the war of the Rebellion. George Dana Boardrnan, the devoted and distinguished missionary to Burmah, was a native of this town. Dr. J. F. Pratt, a physician of Chelsea, Mass., was for a considerable time, a resident of this town. The town has a library of above 1,000 volumes.

There are four church-edifices in town, one of which belongs to the Congregationalists, one to the Methodists and two to the Free Baptists. New Sharon has sixteen public schoolhouses; and the total value of school property is estimated at $3,000. The estates in 1870 were valued at $481,434. In 1880 they were set at $470,917. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 36 mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,451. In 1880 it was 1,306.

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