Sidney, in Kennebec County, lies on the western side
Kennebec River north of Augusta and of a small part of Manchester.
Vassalboro, on the opposite side of the river, bounds it upon the east,
Waterville and West Waterville in the north, and Belgrade on the
west. Messalonske, or Snow Pond, separates the northern half of the
town from Belgrade on the west. The town contains about 20,000
acres of land, of which a bog in the southern part absorbs about 1,000
acres. Though there are numerous streams in town, they are small;
and the several saw and grist mills are rarely able to run through the
year. Agriculture forms the almost exclusive occupation of the in-
habitants. The soil is clay and clay loam for about 2 miles from the
Kennebec; from this line to Snow's Pond, about 2 miles, the surface
is hilly and the soil gravelly. The principal crop is hay. The prox-
imity of the Augusta market is of great advantage to the farmers of
Sidney. The rock is slate formation with granite, with some limestone,
etc. A notable feature of the town is the size of its forest trees.
There are several small ponds, of which Ward's Pond, at the south-
west of the center, is the largest. The post-offices are Sidney, Centre
Sidney, North and West Sidney. There is no railroad in the town,
but ample accommodation is afforded by the two lines of the Maine
Central Railway, which pass, one along the eastern side in Vassalboro,
and the other through Belgrade, on the west.
The first settlements were along the river, and were made about
1760; and so after there were clearings made in the vicinity of Snow's
Pond. Moses Sawtelle was one of the early settlers, and his seven
grown up sons soon after began their plantations about him. A distant
relative, John Sawtelle, was an early settler on the river road. The
climate of Sidney seems favorable to longevity, as there are at present
about 50 persons in town above seventy-five years of age.
The territory of Sidney was first a part of Vassalboro, but was set
off and incorporated as an independent town in 1792. The Baptist
church was probably the first in town. The Rev. Asa Wilbur was
their pastor for many years, and in 1808 he became the first represent-
ative of the town in the General Court of Massachusetts. The Con-
gregationalists, Universalists, Friends and Methodists, each have a
society and church in the town, and the Baptists and Free Baptists
have two each. Sidney has nineteen school-houses, valued at $4,000.
The valuation of estates in 1870 was $649,582. In 1880 it was $579,-
764. The rate of taxation in 1880 was 2 ½ cents on the dollar. The
population in 1870 was 1471. By the census of 1880, it is given at 1,406.