Sanford, in York County, is the western portion of
a tract of land
purchased in 1661 by Major William Phillips of the Indian chiefs
Fluellen, Captain Sunday and Hobinowell. It was confirmed by Gorges
to the major or his son Nathan, in 1670. In 1696, Mrs. Phillips willed
it to her former husband's son, Peleg Sanford, from whom the name is
derived. It was at first called Phillipstown. Sanford was surveyed
in 1734, and settlement commenced in 1740. The northern part of the
town was settled in 1745 by Captain David Morrison. He purchased
the lot containing the mill privileges above Springvale, and built a
house and saw-mill. The record of a town meeting, held in 1770, show
that the chief business of the meeting was to authorize the employment
of a minister and schoolmaster for three months. The first mention of
any ministerial service is that of a marriage by Rev. Peltiah Tingley, a
Baptist, in 1774. Tradition says that the first preaching in town was
from the top of a high rock which is to be seen on the road from South
Sanford to Alfred.
It is said that Louis Philippe, afterward King of France, once
stopped at the Old Colonel Emery House, in South Sanford. A bed
in the house is still pointed out as the king's bed. The royal heir vis-
ited in Maine for several weeks about 1790.
The town has Alfred and Kennebunk on the east of its irregular
outline, Alfred and Shapleigh on the north, Wells and North Berwick
on the south, and Lebanon and North Berwick on the west. It is 10
miles long by 5 wide. The area is 17,921 acres, exclusive of water
surface. Springvale, in the northern part of the town, is the principal
business center. It is on the Portland and Rochester railroad, 36
miles from Portland. Other villages are South Sanford and Sanford
villages, near the center of town.
The principal body of water is Bonny Bigg Pond. Smaller ones
are Sand Pond, Picture Pond, Deering and Littlefield's ponds. The
Mousam River runs through the town longitudinally, furnishing within
its limits seventeen powers. On the power at Sanford village are three
woolen mills and a saw-mill. Among the products are carpets, and
robes and blankets for sleighs. At Springvale are the cotton factory
of the Springvale Mill Company, two lumber-mills, a grist-mill, and a
shoe factory. Springvale lies in a valley, the hills rising about it on
all sides. The village derives its name from a large spring of pure
water, which flows out just below the grist-mill.
The numerous woods, hills and ponds afford a varied and attractive
scenery. Beaver Hill and Mount Hope are the greatest eminences.
The rock is granite and mica-schist. The southern portion of the town
is nearly level. The soil on the ridge is fertile, but on the plains and
the valleys it is inferior. The town boasts as curiosities, old Indian
Cave, Wildcat's Rock - from 75 to 150 feet high and quite perpendic-
ular - and others.
At Springvale the Calvinist and Free Will Baptists and Christians
have each a church; and the Congregationalists have one at each San-
ford Corner, and at South Sanford. The town has a high-school, locat-
ed at Springvale. The whole number of schoolhouses is fifteen, and the
value of the school property is placed at $10,000. The population in
1870 was 2,397; valuation, $560,542. In 1880 the valuation was $654,-
303. In 1880, the population was 2,732. Of this Springvale has 1,116
and Sanford Corner, 558. The number of deaths in 1879 was 23.
The number of persons 80 years old and upwards, 22. The oldest man
in town is 91 years, and four women are each 89 years of age. There
are 180 farms in town, each paying a yearly income of $300 or over.
Sanford has a noble war record. The State gives it credit for only
147 men, but it is known to have sent over 160 into the army and 15
into the navy. Lieutenant-Colonel John Hemingway was its highest
officer. The bounties paid averaged about $300. The Springvale
Reporter, published every Saturday, is the only newspaper in town.
It is a lively sheet, devoted mostly to local news. H.C. Cheever is