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

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




Rumford lies in the northern part of the middle section of Oxford County, having Andover, Roxbury and Mexico on the northwest, north and north-east, Peru directly east, Bethel, and Milton anT Franklin plantations on the south and Newry on the west. The Androscoggin River runs north-eastward through the southern part of the town, Ellis River comes down to it through the western part, Swift River in the eastern part, and Concord River from the south enter the Androscoggin at Rumford Point. In the southern half of the town and in the extreme north are mountains; but between these the surface is generally leveL The most important elevations are White Cap (600 feet in height) and Black Mountain, at the north, and Mount Hemingway at the extreme south. The northern mountains especially are noted for their immense crop of blueberries. The rock in the town is chiefly granite. The soil, in general, is sandy. Birch, maple; poplar and pine trees constitute the forests. Wheat, corn, oats and potatoes are the crops chiefly cultivated, and yield well. The principal village is East Rumford on the Androscoggin in the eastern part of the town. There are here three saw-mills manufacturing long and short lumber, a shovel handle factory, a grist-mill, a cheese and a starch factory. On or near Concord River (Rumford Post-Office) are saw, grist and shingle-mills. At this and other points are the ther manufactories common to villages. The public and private buildings are neat in their appearance, and the public roads are generally very good. Other Post-Offices are North, East, Rumford Centre and Point. The nearest railroad stations are those in Bethel and Woodstock. The stage-route from Bryant’s Pond on the Grand Trunk railroad to Andover is through this town.

About 3 miles above Rumford Point Village is a paint mine, formed by deposit from a spring of the ochreous red oxide of iron. Near this is considerable deposit of iron ore. On the Alonzo Holt farm, black lead or plumbago has been found in considerable quantities. Lime stone abounds in several places, but more largely at Rumford Falls. These falls are in the Androscoggin River in the eastern part of the town, and form the grandest cataract in New England. Here the whole volume of the river leaps over abrupt and craggy ledges of granite, dashing the spray far into the air. At present there are three or four pitches at this place, but anciently there must have been a descent of greater magnitude; for large holes peculiar to falls are found high in the rocky banks, far above where the waters have run within the knowledge of man. The whole jiteh is from 160 to 170 feet. The principal one has a perpendicular descent of 84 feet, somewhat broken by rocks near the middle of the stream. In 1833, a stone flume was built at the bead of this fall to divert a portion of the water to mills. After its completion, Mr. Nathan Knapp, one of the proprietors, stepped upon the wall to see if it was thigh, when 30 feet of it were forced over by the water, and he was precipitated to the base of the fall, and drowned. A few years since a steamboat was placed in this river, to run between the falls and Canton, where it connected with the Backfield and Rumford railroad.

This township was granted by Massachusetts in 1779 to Timothy Walker, jr., and his associates, of Concord, N. H., to make up losses which they and their ancestors sustained in controversy with the town of Bow, growing out of the purchase of Concord. The township was at first named New Pennacook. The pioneers were Jonathan Keyes and his son Francis, who arrived from Massachusetts in June, 1782. A few years later came Philip and David Abbott, Jacob, Benjamin and David Farnum, Benjamin Lufkin and wife, Stephen Putnam ana wife, and John, Daniel and Kimball Martin, these coming principally from Concord, N. H. The settlement was incorporated as Rumford in February, 1800. There are in the town Methodist, Congregationalist, Universalist and two Union church edifices Rumford has a good high school; and there are 13 public schoolhouses. The school property is valued at $3,000. The population in 1870 was 1,212. In 1880 it was 1,006. The valuation in 1870 was $380,854. In 1880 it was $351,119. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 2 mills on a dollar.

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