History of Vassaloboro, 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



Vassalboro, in Kennebec County, lies on the east side of the
Kennebec River, north of and adjoining Augusta. It is bounded by
China on the east, Sidney on the west, and Winslow on the north.
Webber's Pond, having an area of 2.10 square miles, lies a little south
of the center of the town; a portion of China Pond projects into the
eastern side, and Three-mile Pond forms a portion of the boundary
between it and China at the south-east. The Kennebec River separates
it from Sidney, which constituted a part of Vassalboro from its incur-
poration in 1771 until 1792, when its territory west of the river was
set off and incorporated as an independent town. The first settlements
were made along the river about 1760; but they increased so slowly
that eight years later this extensive township contained but ten fam-
ilies. Dennis and John Gatchell were among the earliest settler.
Both were guides to Arnold's expedition up the Kennebec in 1776.
Dennis was chosen captain of the town in 1775; John was a noted
hunter, and a man of great strength. Once when a full-grown moose
which he had wounded turned upon him, he seized the animal, threw
it down and cut his throat with a jack-knife. John's house was sit-
uated on the bank of the Kennebec, and had an underground passage
to the river, to allow of escape should hostile Indians effect an entrance
into the house. Other early settlers were Samuel and Asa Reddington,
both of whom had served in the war for independence. The latter had
been a member of the famous Washington Life-Guard. Most of the
early settlers were from the Cape Cod towns, and many were members
of the Society of Friends. Vassalboro was represented in the Provin-
cial Congress in 1775 by Remington Hobby, and in 1777 by Mr. A.
Lovejoy.

The surface of the town is beautifully diversified with hill and val-
ley, the highest eminences being Tabor and Cross hills. The soil is ex-
cellent, and the farmers generally are thrifty, and the town is wealthy
and prosperous. Much attention is given to the cultivation of fruits
and with marked success.

There are several mills in town. On the outlet of Three-mile Pond,
which discharges into Webber's Pond are a saw, grist and excelsior
mill; on Seven-mile Brook, which connects Webber's Pond with the
Kennebec, are two saw-mills, a paper-mill and a machine-shop. Ac-
cording to the Hydrographic survey of Maine, there are nineteen
powers in town. Thirteen of these are on the outlet of China Lake.
This sheet of water is 201 feet above the tide, has an area of 4,000
acres, and its drainage basin is about 39,520 acres in extent. The
stream from the lake is six and one-third miles long, in which distance
it has nine dams and falls 160 feet. Of these powers the first is occu-
pied by a grist-mill and woolen-mill, a saw-mill and shovel-handle fac-
tory; on the second is a grist-mill; on the third, a shingle-mill, and a
wood and iron machine-shop; the fifth is occupied by the Vassalboro
Mills Company in manufacturing woolen goods. This mill has twenty
sets of cards, with the associated machinery, and a wood and iron
machine-shop attached. The capital stock of the company in 1869 was
$450,000. On the seventh power is a factory for making knit goods
and another for shoe pegs. On the eleventh, there is a saw-mill and a
threshing-mill. On the thirteenth, is a board, plank and lath-mill. a
line of the Maine Central railway extends through the entire length of
the town along the river.

The Oak Grove Seminary and Commercial College is a popular and
prosperous institution under the care of the Society of Friends. It is
situated in an attractive location a short distance north of Vassalboro
Corner.

The Congregationalists, Baptists, Free Baptists, Catholics, and
Friends, each have a society and church edifice in the town, and the
Methodists have three. Vassalboro has twenty-two schoolhouses,
valued at $10,500. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $1,130,348.
In 1880 it was $1,188,980. The population at the same date was
2,919. In 1880 it has increased to 2,621.

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