History of South Berwick, 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



South Berwick, in York County, has Eliot and York on
the south and south-east, Rollinsford in New Hampshire on the west,
Berwick, North Berwick and Wells on the north-west and Wells on
the north and north-east. The greatest length of the town, is about 9
miles, being from north-east to south-west. The area is stated in the
York County Atlas, as 13, 856 acres. The principal bodies of water are
Knights, Cox and Warren ponds. Great Works River runs in a wind-
ing direction through the town, and the Salmon Falls River forms the
western boundary. The business centers are at South Berwick village,
on the Portland, Saco and Portsmouth railroad, at South Berwick
junction, at the junction of the Boston and Maine and the P.S.&P.
railroads, and at Great Works. At the latter place is the mill of
the Newichawannock Company, which manufactures woolen goods at
Quampheagen Falls on the Salmon Falls river, the Portsmouth Com-
pany manufacture cottons; the Varney Plough Company produces
ploughs and cultivators, and there is also a sawing and planing mill,
and a shoe factory.

The first settlement in the town was at the Quampheagan Falls, the
head of tide navigation, by Humphrey Chadbourne, Messieurs Shap-
leigh, Heard, Frost and Emery about 1624. It was called the “Parish
of Unity,” on account of the peaceful disposition of the inhabitants.
The earliest title from the Indians on record is a deed to Chadbourne
from the chief of the Piscataquas in 1643. Great Works has its name
from the mill, containing eighteen saws, erected at the Falls in 1650 by
Richard Leders. This was done in fulfillment of the conditions on
which a court was held at Kittery at that date granted him exclusive
right of the water-power, and all the timber not otherwise appropriated.
The Indian name of these Falls was Assabumbadoc. South Berwick
was included in Berwick when in 1700 that town was separated from
Kittery. It was taken from the town and incorporated in 1814. Its
history to the latter date will be found under the head of Berwick.
During the war of the rebellion South Berwick furnished to the army
over 192 men, paying bounties to the amount of $40,500.

The surface is quite uneven at the north, and hilly in the southern
and eastern portions. Rocky Hill is the most extended elevation, and
Butler's Hill, just east of the village, commands some charming views.
The woods are chiefly of oak, maple and beech. The soil in the north-
ern half of the town is much better than that of the southern part.
The apple does well, and there are several extensive orchards.

The first Congregational church of South Berwick was formed by
by Rev. John Wade, who had been employed as the minister of the
town. The organization was effected in 1702. The second Baptist
church in Maine was formed at Great Hill in this town in 1768. It was
the result of the missionary work of Rev. Hezekiah Smith, pastor
of the Baptist church at Haverhill. The Baptist church at the village
was organized in 1823. A Free-will Baptist church was organized in
1834, with Nathaniel Trickey as pastor. The Methodist Episcopal
church was formed in 1829 by Paul C. Richmond from the Maine Con-
ference. A meeting-house was dedicated in 1838; in 1849 it was
burned and a new one was built in 1850.

Berwick Academy in this town is one of the most noted in the
State. It received its charter and an endowment of a township of land
in 1791. The township is now the town of Athens. The present is
the third building erected for the purpose of a school edifice. It is of
chaste architecture, and was designed by Richard Upjohn, of New
York. It is located upon a commanding site, presented by the late
Benjamin Chadbourne. The grounds are adorned with hedges and
shrubbery, and surrounded by a substantial wall. There is also a
commodious boarding-house. The first preceptor was Samuel Moody.
The institution has received endowments from F.B. Hayes, of Boston,
Benjamin T. Tredick of Philadelphia, and William L. Cogswell, of
New York. The latter gentleman founded the medal fund, the object
of which is to provide annually three gold medals valued at fifty dol-
lars each, to be awarded to three scholars, -- two who excel in English
and one in classics, who have attended the school not less than on year.
There is also a fund established by Hon. John Lord at his demise,
called the Bible fund, which furnishes a Bible to every student who at-
tends a full term. The town has also thirteen public schoolhouses, and
the school property exclusive of the academy is valued at $6,000. The
estates in town in 1870 were valued at $818,022. In 1880 they were
$864,590. The population in 1870 was 2,510; in 1880 it was 2,677. The
rate of taxation is .0149. The town has one Discount and one Savings
bank.

Several of the noted citizens of the town and natives residing else-
where have already been mentioned, others are Gen. Ichabod Goodwin,
who was a soldier in the last French war and in the Revolution; Gen
John Lord, a prosperous merchant, State senator, and the father of
Nathan Lord, D.D., formerly president of Dartmouth college, and
grandfather of Rev. John Lord L.L.D., eminent as a lecturer upon his-
tory; Dudley Hubbard formerly leading lawyer of the county; Wm.
A. Hayes, president of York Co. bar for about twenty-five years;
Charles N. Cogswell, lawyer, and Richard Cogswell, merchant; Benj.
Greene, chief-justice of Common Pleas, and speaker of the House in
1824, United States marshal from 1824-1830; William Burleigh,
representative to the 18th and 19th Congresses, John N. Goodwin, rep-
resentative to the 37th Congress, governor of Arizona, and delegate to
Congress from that territory; Dr. T. H. Jewett, professor in the medi-
cal college, and an eminent practitioner; J. H. Burleigh, for several
years the able agent of the Newichawannock Company, and represent-
tative in the national Congress for two terms, beginning in 1875.

The Christian Home, an excellent religious monthly, is published in
South Berwick.

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