History of Shirley, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine
By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Shirley is situated on the south-western border of
Piscataquis County. It is hounded on the north by township No. 5 and by Grenville, east by Eliottsville, south
by Monson and Blanchard, and west by East Moxie, in Somerset County. The town is made up partly of the disintegrated
town of Wilson. This portion of the town was originally No. 9, Range 9. For a time it was known as Fullerstown,
from H. W. Fuller, Esq., of Augusta, who had purchased 3,000 acres of its territories from the Massachusetts Medical
Society, and later nearly the whole. The surface of Shirley has many ridgy hills, especially in the southern part.
These generally have an excellent soil, and are valuable for agriculture. Much of the eastern part, however, is
interior. On its river courses abounded a giant growth of pine and spruce. The main branch of the Piscataquis River
rises in the township on its north, flowing southward through a bog in Shirley. This bog allows of flowage; and
where the river issues from it on the south is a good water-power which is improved by a saw-mill and grist-mill.
The other principal streams in town are Wilson's, at the north-eastern part, and Bog Stream, in the western part.
On both of these are good powers. The western part of the present Shirley, constituting the original of the township,
was purchased by Messrs. Shaw and Jabez True in 1829. The latter introduced some settlers, and built a sawmill
about which the village of Shirley Mills has grown up. The first settlers were Joseph Mitchell, Ehen and David
Marble, who came in 1825. About the time that Mr. True began to make an opening, Capt. C. Cushman made a clearing
and built a frame house in the northern part of the town; hauling boards to cover his house on a hand sled from
Monson. In 1834 the township was incorporated as the town of Shirley; the name being that of the native place of
J. Kelsey, Esq., the representative in the legislature at the time. At the first townmeeting Elder Orrin Strout
was chosen town clerk, and Charles Loring, one of the select-men. In 1848. the west half of what was then the town
of Wilson, lying east of Shirley, was annexed to the latter. This brought in the little village known as Shirley
Corner, at little Wilson Stream, with another mill privilege, a hotel, and what is now Shirley post-office. This
point is on the stage-road from Dexter to Moosehead Lake, and on the line of the proposed extension of the railroad
between the same points. The Huff silver mine-expected to yield a considerable profit-is in this town.