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

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





Norway is one of the south-eastern towns of Oxford County. Paris bounds it on the north-east, Oxford on the south-east, Waterford on the south-west, Albany and Greenwood on the north-west. The area is. by estimate, about 25,000 acres. The town has numerous but not high hills. The most notable of these are Holt Hill, a little north‘west of the centre of the town, Frost Hill, at the south-west, and Pike Hill at the south-east. The number of ponds is also large. Great Pennesseewassee Pond extends its length of 4 ½ miles just east of the middle of the town, ending outlet to the Little Androscoggin River, at Norway Village, in -the south-east corner of the town. Tributary to this is North Pond, in the north-east, and Little Pennesseewassee, on the west. Somewhat south-west of the centre of the town is Sand Pond, with its tributaries, Mud and Round, sending its own outlet into Thompson Pond, at the south-east. At the extreme north is Furlong Pond. Crooked River forms a part of the western boundary, and Bird Brook skirts the town on the east. The soil is fertile and the farmers thrifty. There are eleven water-powers in the town, of which Pennesseewassee Falls, at Norway Village, constitute six. Five of these powers bear the name of Steep Falls, having an aggregate fall of 56 feet in 15 rods. There are here two grain mills, a tannery, and furniture, patent board box, shovel-handle, boot and shoe, clothing and carriage factories, a stave and shook-mill, a planing-mill, a machine shop, a cloth and carding-mill, harness and trunk-makers, etc. On streams, in other quarters of the town, are three saw-mills. Noble Corners, at the northern part of the town, shows quite a cluster of houses. The nearest railroad station for most of the town is at South Paris, scarcely a mile from Norway Village. The stage-line from South Paris to Bridgton and Fryeburg runs through this town. The scenery of Norway, varied with so many hills and ponds and intersected by good roads is very agreeable to look upon, and easy of passage. The village has several handsome residences, and its streets are ornamented with shade trees. On the outskirts of the village, on the south are the fair grounds. Norway Branch r.r. connects with the Grand Trunk.

Norway is composed of a tract of about 6,000 acres, purchased of Massachusetts in 1787, and another of the same size granted to Mr. Lee, and known as the Lee Grant, two other tracts known as Curnming’s Gore and Kent Gore, and three tiers of lots taken from the plantation of Waterford. The settlement came about in this wise: James Stinchfield, Jonas Stevens and some others, came to hunt about the ponds, and finding such beautiful growths of wood and other indications of a good soil, determined to settle here. Accordingly, in 1786, Stevens, his brother Joseph, Jeremiah and Amos Hobbs, and George Lessley, came in, made clearings and built houses, and in due time brought in their families. A Captain Rust had become a large proprietor of land here, and performed many generous acts toward the settlers, for which he was much beloved and esteemed, so that the plantation adopted his name until its incorporation. This occurred March 9, 1797; and the present name was then adopted with the purpose to honor the nation which dwelt in Norway, in Europe. Many of the early settlers were soldiers in the Revolution, one of whom, Phineas Whitney, served throughout the war, and was at the battle of Bunker Hill, being one of the last to leave the field. In 1843 the entire records of the town were destroyed by fire.

The Norway Savings Bank in Norway Village, at the beginning of the fiscal year of 1880, held in deposits and accrued profits the sum of $149,088.28. Norway National Bank has a capital of $100,000. The newspapers are “The New Religion,” and the “Oxford County Advertiser.” They are spirited and able papers. As indicated, the former is a paper with a theological purpose, and the views it advocates are those held by the Universalist denomination.

The first church was formed in this town about 1802; and the Rev. Noah Cressey was ordained Sept. 20, 1809. There are now a Universalist and a Free Baptist church, two belonging to the Methodists and two to the Congregationalists. There is a circulating library of nearly 700 volumes at the village. The Norway Liberal Institute is a flourishing school of a high grade. The number of public schoolhouses is seventeen having, with appurtenances, a value of $6,000. The population in 1870 was 1,954. In 1880 it was 2,519. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $641,644. In 1880 it was $889,863.

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