Paris is an interesting town in the south-eastern part
of Oxford County, of which it is the capital. It is 46 miles N.N.W. of Portland on the Grand Trunk Railway. Woodstock
bounds it on the north, Sumner, Buckfield and Hebron on the east, Oxford on the south, Norway and Greenwood on
the west. Its length north-west and south-east is nearly 12 miles, the width is about 6 miles, and its area some
70 square miles. The surface is quite uneven. Streaked Mountain, just over its eastern line, is the highest elevation;
but there are numerous high hills within the town,—as Spruce, Cobble, Jump-Off and Berry Ledge hills in the north
part of the town,—Ones, Paris and Crocker’s hills and Mount Mica in the middle,—and Singepole and Number Four hills
in the southern part. The little Androscoggin River runs through the whole length of the town, and near it, for
the whole distance, lies the track of the Grand Trunk Railway. The principal tributaries to this river within the
town are the outlet to Moose Pond in the northeastern part, Stone’s Brook, near the middle, and Stony Brook, which
enters the river at South Paris Village. Another sheet of water called Hall’s Pond lies in the south-eastern part
of the town.
There is much beautiful scenery in Paris, and the roads are excellent. The principal villages are South Paris,
Paris Hill, West and North Paris. Snow’s Falls, on the river, toward the north part of the town, received their
name from the tragic death near them of a man named Snow, who was hunting there. Paris Hill, near the centre of
the town, is the most elevated village in the county, and probably in the State. The open square on the hilltop,
upon which the county buildings stand, presents an aspect at once rural, elegant, and from its commanding view,
impressive. The village is a healthy location, and a favorite Bummer resort. Before the days of railroads this
was a very thriving place.
At South Paris the Norway Branch Railway forms a junction with the main line of the Grand Trunk. On the falls here
are mills containing flouring, board, shingle, planing and barrel machinery. Here also is an iron foundry and machine-shop,
and other small manufactures. The other station on the Grand Trunk is West Paris, in the north-western part of
the town, where is a good water-power, improved by a fiouring in ill. There is also a furniture-factory driven
by steampower. At North Paris a water-power is supplied by the outlet of Moose Pond (about of a mile square), upon
which a grist-mill was erected very soon after the first settlement of the place, and has been occupied ever since.
Altogether the town has twelve powers, all improved and occupied. There are three grist-mills, and factories making
agricultural implements, railroad wheelbarrows, sleds and child’s carriages, bedsteads, wooden boxes, brackets,
coopers’ ware, chairs (two factories), shoes, canned vegetables, paper pulp, and leather board, mowing machines,
metal work, ground plaster, etc. The soil of this town is of every variety, but there is very little clay. For
pasturage and bay crops, it excels, being one of the best stock and dairy farm towns in the State. There are many
large apple orchards, which have been a source of large income. The first apple and pear tree were brought by Lemuel
Jackson from Massachusetts in 1780.
This township was originally granted in 1771 to Capt. Joshua Fuller, of Watertown, and the sixty-four privates
of his company, for services in the French and Indian wars; but many of these were dead and the property really
came to their heirs instead. The first settlement was made in 1779 on the site of the present village of Paris
Hill by John Daniels, Deacon John Willis, Joseph Willis, Benjamin Hammond, Lemuel Jackson, and Uriah Ripley, from
Middleborough, Mass Mr. Daniels, it is stated, purchased the land now occupied by Paris Hill Village, of the Indians,
the price paid being an iron kettle. Joseph Daniels, born February, 1784, is the first native citizen. The first
church here was Calvinist-Baptist, organized in 1795, and Elder James Hooper, of Berwick, was the same year ordained
as their pastor, the ceremony being performed in a barn. He filled this office for nearly half a century. The first
house for public worship was erected by the Baptists at Paris Hill in 1803. There are now in town societies of
the Baptists, Congregationalists, Free Baptists, two of the Universalists, and three of the Methodists. Some of
the church edifices are fine structures.
The town was incorporated June 20, 1793, and on the organization of Oxford County in 1805, became its shire town.
Paris was the birth-place and residence through minority of Hon. Hannibal Hamlin, many years a United States senator
from Maine, and vice-president for one term with Lincoln. Hon. Sidney Perham, who was six years in Congress and
three years Governor of Maine, resides in Paris Hill Village. This town has also furnished six other members of
Congress, namely: Levi Hubbard, Albion K. Paris, Enoch Lincoln, Timothy J. Carter, Rufus K. Goodenow, and Charles
Andrews, of whom the last only was a native. Of these, Paris and Lincoln were also governors of the State, and
the first a United State senator.
Paris Hill Academy was long a flourishing and superior school, but has given way to the high schools and the Oxford
Normal Institute. The latter, located at South Paris, is a flourishing and excellent school. District No. 16 has
a library, known as the Prentiss Library, having 800 volumes. The “Oxford Democrat,” an excellent country paper,
is published here by George H. Watkins. South Paris Savings Batik, on Nov. 1, 1880, held in deposits and profits
$132,011.16. The number of public schoolhouses in this town is 20, valued with lots and apparatus at $10,000. The
population in 1870 was 2,765. In 1880 it was 2,930. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $977,975. In 1880 it was