History of Parsonsfield, Maine
From
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine
By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886
Transcribed by Betsey S. Webber



Parsonsfield is the north-west town in York County, and
is bounded on its western side by New Hampshire. Porter and Hiram
lie on the north, Cornish and Limerick on the east, and Newfield on
the south. It has an area of about 22,000 acres. The Ossipee River
forms the northern boundary line, and furnishes at Kezar Falls the
principal water-power of the town. At this place there is a set of saw,
shingle, and grain mills, another on South River, in the western part
of the town; and there are several smaller ones in the various parts of
the town. The principal business centers are East Parsonfield, Kezar
Falls, North Parsonfield, Parsonsfield Village, South Parsonsfield,
West Parsonsfield and Lord's Mills. Long Pond, Mudget and Spruce
are the largest ponds, and there are as many more of smaller size. The
surface of the town is very rough and hilly. The greatest elevations
are Cedar Mountain in the central part, and Randall Mountain in the
eastern. The soil in general, though rocky, is fertile, yielding good
crops of hay and grain. The scenery from almost every eminence is
grandly beautiful. Scarcely more than 20 miles to the north, slightly
west, the White Hills of New Hampshire lift their rugged peaks above
the clouds. In the intervening space, smaller hills, some covered with
verdure, others broken with rocks, with smiling green valleys between,
dotted numerously with neat farm-houses and bright little villages form
many a pleasing picture

Parsonsfield is part of a tract of land sold in 1661 by the Indian
chief, Captain Sunday, to Francis Small, who conveyed an individual
half to Major Nicholas Shapleigh, of Kittery. The original deed of
Small was found in 1770, and the descendants of the two tenants in
common took formal possession. Again in 1771, a partition was effected,
when the territory comprised in this township fell to the claimants
under Shapleigh, who immediately conveyed it to Thomas Parsons and
39 associates. The town was shortly afterward surveyed into hundred-
acre lots, two of which were reserved to each proprietor, nine for the
use and support of the schools and churches, and one for a mill privi-
lege. Twelve families settled upon or near these lots in 1772; John
and Gideon Doe settled in the western part of the town in 1775; and
soon after George Kezar settled in the eastern part. The town was
incorporated in 1785, under its present name, in honor of Thomas Par-
sons, one of the largest early proprietors.

The town has been the residence or birth-place of many distinguished
men. Hon. Rufus McIntire was a graduate of Dartmouth College, be-
came a member of the York County bar in 1812, soon after recruited a
company and marched to the northern frontier, remaining in active
service until the close of the war. He was afterward elected to Con-
gress for four consecutive terms, commencing December, 1827. He
was land agent under Governor Fairfield, Marshal of Maine under
President Polk, and Surveyor of Customs under President Pierce.
Hon. James W. Bradbury of Augusta, was the son of Dr. James Brad-
bury, an eminent physician of Parsonsfield. Elder John Buzzell, after
long service in teaching and in the ministry, removed to Parsonsfield
in 1798, remaining until his death in 1864, in the ninety-sixth year of
his age. He united with the Free-will Baptists when that denomina-
tion numbered but 101. He was the author and editor of many public-
cations, and he and Dr. Moses Sweat, a resident physician, were the
chief means of establishing the North Parsonsfield Seminary, the first
institute of learning under the auspices of the denomination. Hon. L.
D. M. Sweat, of Portland, is a son of Dr. Moses Sweat. William B.
Wedgewood, LL.D., elected vice-chancellor of the university at Wash-
ington, D.C., in 1870 is a native of Parsonsfield. Hon. Zenas P. Went-
worth, late of Houlton, Maine, was also a native. One of the old men
of the town is Deacon Elisha Waldleigh, who at the age of one hundred,
rode 4 miles to deposit his vote.

The first church in town was built in 1790 by the town proprietors,
and a parsonage in 1794. There are now in town, churches of the Con-
gregationalists, Baptists, Old School Free-will Baptists, Free Bap-
tists (three churches) and Advents. Parsonsfield has seventeen public
schoolhouses, valued at $4,500. The valuation of estates in 1870 was
$632,970; in 1880 it was $563,075. The population in 1870 was
1,804; in 1880 it was 1,613.

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