History of Sumner, Maine
From
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886




Sumner lies on the eastern part of the middle portion of Oxford County. It is bounded by Peru on the north, Hartford on the east, Buckfield on the south, and Woodstock and Paris on the west. The greatest length of the town is north-west and south-east about 11 miles; and its width averages nearly 5½. Through almost the whole length of the town runs the West Branch of Twenty-Mile River, and the East Branch of this river forms the eastern boundary line. Near this river at the north-east is Labrador Pond, west of the centre is Pleasant Pond, and in the south-eastern part of the town is North Pond, largest of the three, having an area of about one-third of a square mile. Smaller are Shag Pond in the north-west corner, and Little Labrador in the eastern part of the town. Black Mountain, noted for its blueberries, is an extensive elevation in the northern part; and Spence Hills on the south-western line. Cushman’s Hill, south of the centre, and Hedgehog Hill in the south-east, are also considerable elevations. The surface generally is uneven and broken, but the soil is generally productive. At Jackson Village (West Sumner post office) are a saw-mill for long lumber, a shingle-mill, grist-mill, cooperage, etc.; and at East Sumner are saw, shingle and grist-mills, and various small manufactures. The main business of the inhabitants is agricultural, in which they have met with good success, and the town generally bears the appearance of thrift. The F?mford Falls and Buckfield Railroad touches the south-eastern part of the town, and has a station near East Sumner. The Grand Trunk railroad station at West Paris is about 8 miles from Sumner Centre.

This town was formerly one with Hartford; and these sections bore respectively the names of East and West Butterfield. On June 13, 1798, it was separately incorporated under its present name in honor of Governor Increase Sumner. The first settler in town was Charles Bisbee, from Pembroke, Mass. The first settlement in the south-east part was made in the same year by Increase Robinson and Noah Bosworth. Most of the first settlers came from Plymouth County, Mass., and were Revolutionary soldiers. Among the earliest were Increase and Joseph Robinson, Simeon Barrett, Noah Bosworth, Hezekiah Stetson, John Briggs, John Crockett, Benjamin Heald, Mesech Keen, Barney Jackson and Oliver Cummings. These obtained the titles to their lands from Massachusetts. Oliver Cummings, from Dunstable, Mass., struck the first blow of the axe at what is now the centre of the town. For some years the settlers were obliged to carry their grist upon their backs ten miles to a mill in Turner, being guided by a spotted line through the woods. The first grist as well as the first saw-mill in the town was erected by Increase Robinson in 1783.

The churches in Sumner are a Congregationalist, First and Second Baptist, Free Baptist and Universalist. The public schoolhouses number sixteen, and the entire school property has an estimated value of $4,600. The population in 1870 was 1,170. In 1880 it was 1,014. The valuation in 1870 was $382,463. In 1880 it was $310,985.

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