History of North Berwick, Maine
From
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

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




North Berwick, is situated in the south-west part of York County, and is bounded on the north and east by Sanford, south by South Berwick, west and south-west by Berwick, and north-west by Lebanon. It contains 18,579 acres of land, its principal sheet of water is Bonny Bigg Pond on the northern side, containing 1,600 acres; and its streams are Great Works, Negutaquet and Little Rivers. The surface of the country is rather uneven. Bonny Bigg Hill is the highest elevation. The soil, though stony, is fairly productive. Farming is the principal occupation of the inhabitants. The principal village is at the south-west part, at the junction of the Portland, Saco and Portsmouth and Boston and Maine railroads. The North Berwick Woolen Company have a fine brick mill on the Great Works River, at the village. It is 120 feet long and three stories in height, and has an engine of sufficient power to carry the mill in case of drought. Forty looms, six sets of cards, and thirteen spinning jacks are operated, which turn out daily 1,500 yards of flannel, beside blankets, and employ about 80 hands. The capital is $100,000. At the foot of Bonny Bigg Pond is a saw, grist, shingle and clapboard mill. On the Negutaqueit are the Hussey Agricultural ‘Works, manufacturing farm implements. Other factories are a carding and yarn mill, a box and shook mill, several saw mills, stove polish factory, and many other lesser industries, including an extensive brick-yard. Several good powers on the streams are unimproved.

The Baptists, Free Baptists and Friends have each a church in the town. The town has 16 schoolhouses valued at $8,090. The valuation of 1870 was $572,927; in 1880, $637,334. The population in 1870 was 1,623; in 1880, 1,801. The rate of taxation is 14 mills on a dollar. The town was originally a part of Berwick, from which it was set off and incorporated in 1831; and its history is chiefly included in that of the parent town. Settlements were made in it about 1630, probably by the Morrills and Purintons. Thomas Hobbs, the ancestor of the Hobbs family in the town, in 1735 procured from Nicholas Morrill a deed of land on the west side of Doughty’s falls. He had previously acquired property at the mouth of the Negutiquet, where he built a saw-mill. The Husseys and Buffums were also among the earliest settlers. Other naTnes of early settlers are Hall, Randall, Staples, Quint, Hammond, Hurd, Chadbourne, Libbey, Twambly, Weymouth, Ford, Fernal, Hanscom and others.

A few notable incidents not in the general history of the Berwicks may be mentioned. A young daughter of Peter Morrill, while gathering hemlock for a broom, was slain by Wawa, a chief of the Pequakets. On a promontory in Bonny Bigg Pond tradition says that a captive white woman was kept one winter by the Indians. During the winter she gave birth to a child, which from the scanty food and exposure, was feeble and sickly. The Indians compelled the mother to gather pine fagots, with which they burned the babe to ashes. In the spring she was taken to Canada and sold to the French, from whom she was ransorned and returned to her friends. Around the pond many stone hearths are found. They consist of a bed of stone about four feet in circumference, upon which the Indians built fires for cooking. On the north side of the outlet in a ravine, near the west border of the pond, was found the greatest number of these hearths,—arid here probably was a village of the Indians. Near by is the field where they raised their maize. In plowing the field, many stone-chisels, gouges, pestles, sinkers, hatchets, arrow-heads, etc., have been brought to light.

Having been settled chiefly since the Revolution, Berwick had little opportunity to show her patriotism until the breaking out of the rebellion. Then her sons responded nobly to the calls for men, and the taxpayers cheerfully voted generous bounties. The number sent out under the various calls was 146, and the amount of bounty paid was $48.000.

The Friends appear to have been the earliest religions society in town. Soon after 1742 a society was gathered which still exists. The first meeting-house stood on the Oak-woods road, south of Bonny Bigg. The present house is about a mile south-west of the village.

Among the eminent men who were born in this town are President Paul Chadbourne, of William’s College, Hon. Ichabod Goodwin, exgovernor of New Hampshire, and Darius Morrill, member of Congress.

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