History of Solon, 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



Solon lies on the east bank of the Kennebec River, in the
southern part of Somerset county. It is bounded on the north by
Bingham, on the east by Athens, south by Cornville and Madison, and
west by Embden. It is 15 miles north by north-west of Skowhegan,
on the stage-line to the Forks. The surface is uneven, being varied
chiefly by terraces at different levels, and the gullying of the higher.
Parkman Hill, in the center of the town, and French's, just east
of the village are the highest. The rock is generally unlaminated
slate. The soil is sandy loam in parts, and gravelly loam in others,
but with much rich alluvial land along the Kennebec. In the north-
eastern part are Wentworth's Pond - about ¾ of one mile in area - and
Baker's, Rowell's and others smaller. The principal streams are Fall
Brook and Michael Stream. The former rises in ponds in the northern
part of Bingham, and in the hilly region of Mayfield and Brighton,--
discharging into the Kennebec at Solon Village. It is here a rapid
stream with steep banks, four rods in width when full, with solid slate
ledge for bottom and banks. The fall is 100 feet within one fourth of
a mile, -- neither of the 5 falls varying much from 20 feet. From the
irregular form of the banks and bottom, these falls present much pic-
turesque beauty within a limited space. Toward the southern part of
the town Michael Stream enters the Kennebec. On this stream, some
3 miles from its mouth, are a saw and lath machine. A mile below
this power, is a beautiful waterfall about 20 feet in perpendicular
height. The manufactures of the town are long and short lumber,
meal and flour, carding and cloth-dressing, carriages, harnesses, harness
pads, etc., etc. The manufacturing and other business is almost wholly
at Solon Village, -- which, with its stream, is certainly one of the most
pleasing villages in the State. In the Kennebec, about a mile above
the village, are Caratunk Falls, and the bay below it, -- one of the pas-
sages most dreaded by the lumber men. The river is here compressed
into a long, narrow channel of rock, with a broad, jagged plain of rock
on the right, -- where, at a rise of the water, great masses of logs are
thrown.

Solon was incorporated February 28, 1809, and organized on the
27th of March following. Its plantation name was Spauldingtown, --
from Thomas Spaulding, one of the grantees. The first settler was
William Hilton of Wiscasset, who removed hither in the fall of 1782,--
purchasing 500 acres of land on the river in the south-western part.
He lived on this farm for 64 years, and raised a family of 13 children;
dying at 87 years of age, respected as a man of integrity and worth.
The next year after Mr. Hilton's arrival came William Hunnewell,
also from Wiscasset, who took a farm adjoining Hilton's. In 1787-8
Calvin and Luther Pierce, from Westmoreland, N.H., Moses Cham-
berlain and Jonathan Bosworth, from Easton, Massachusetts, and
Eleazer Whipple and Joseph Maynard, settled on the river in the
north-western part. In 1798-9, the south part was settled by James,
Jonas and Nathan Jewett, from Groton, Massachusetts, and Jonas
Heald and Caleb Hobart from Pepperell. A post-office was established
here in 1813.

The religious societies are Congregationalist and Methodist; there
is also a Union church edifice. The number of public schoolhouses is
13, -- valued $3,000. The population in 1870 was 1,176. In 1880 it
was 1,013. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $331,919. In 1880 it
was $345,288.

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