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

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




Wales lies 6 miles east of Lewiston, and midway of the eastern side of Androscoggin County. The town of Greene lies on the west, the two being separated from each other in the southern half by Sabattus Pond. Monmouth bounds it on the north, Litchfield on the east, and Webster on the south. The size is four by four and one-half miles, comprising about 7,844 acres. The surface is undulating, except at the southeast there is a broad hill known as Oak Hill, and at the south-west the considerable eminence called Sabattus Mountain. This point was occupied in 1853-54 as station of the coast survey. On the southeastern side of the northern spur of the mountain is a low cave which extends back about fifty feet from the entrance. Its width is much less; and in no part of it can a full grown man stand erect. The rock in which it occurs is a mica-schist highly charged with iron and sulphur. The cave is an extensive lissure formed by the water from rains and melting snows washing through a crevice. It was discovered early in the settlement by a hunter, from a bear of which he was in pursuit taking refuge in it. Both at this and other points on the eastern side of this spur, good specimens of red ochre are found. From top to base of the eminence, between the spurs, are found rich specimens of iron ore, which have been traced to a crumbling bowlder of the drift period in the saddle of the mountain. At the foot, on the western side, lies Sabattus Pond, of which but a small portion is in the town. The name of pond and mountain is derived from an Indian, who about the date of settlement spent much of his time in the vicinity. The soil is good and the industry of the town is almost wholy agricultural.

The Androcoggin division of the Maine Central Railroad passes from north to south at the extreme western side of the town; and Leeds Junction is at the north-eastern angle. There is a post-office at this point. Wales post-office is about two miles south of this. The other post-office is East Wales. There are no considerable villages; and the manufactures are small. For the first twelve or fifteen years after the settlement the inhabitants were compelled to carry their bags of corn on their shoulders through the broken woods a distance of nearly twenty miles to have it greund. Joseph Maxwell built the first grist mill at about the year 1800. Later B. C. Jenkins built a saw-mill near Oak Hill; and about 1842 Benjamin Vining built on a small stream near his residence. The titles to land in the town were derived from the old Plymouth Company. The territory of the town together with that of Monmoath was known prior to 1792, as this Plantation of Wales. At the date mentioned Monmouth was set off; and in 1803 the remainder was organized as a plantation under the old name; choosing as its first officers, Joseph Small, Enoch Strout and Joseph Andrews. The act of incorporation as a town was granted by the General Court in 1816. In 1852 a small portion of Leeds was annexed to Wales. The first settler appears to have been James Ross, who came from Brunswick in 1778, and located on the western side of Sabattus Mountain. About 1780 came Reuben Ham, Jonathan and Alexander Thompson, also from Brunswick. Benjamin and Samuel Wayrnouth, the Greys, and William Rennick settled before 1785; John Andrew, in 1788; Joseph Small and Bartholomew Jackson, in 1791; Joseph Murch and John Larabee, in 1792; Daniel and Ebenezer Small, in 1793. Joseph, son of Daniel, was taken prisoner by the Indians in 1758, and was carried to Quebec where he remained a prisoner until that place was captured by General Wolfe. The Jenkins brothers settled in the northeastern part of the town, and James Clark and James 'Wilson in the north-eastern part, in 1793. Captain Enoch Strout, who came from Limington in 1796, was a soldier in the Revolution, and the first militia captain chosen in town. Simeon Ricker, who came about 1790, was also a Revolutionary soldier. Luther and Wentworth Lombard moved from Gorham to the town. Obed Hobbs, Simons Gatchell, Benjamin Tibbetts and Elijah Morton came about 1796; William and Arthur Given, in 1798; John and James Witherell, Joseph Maxwell, Rufus and Daniel Marr Benjamin and William Fogg, about 1800; Nathaniel Chase, in 1805; Anthony Woodside and William Swett, about 1806; Josiah Libby came in 1807. Later he kept a public-house, and was a major in the militia and town officer for many years. James Taylor, son of a Revolutionary soldier, was himself a soldier in the war of 1812, and two of his sons were Union soldiers in the war of the Rebellion. James Hodsdon came in 1815, settling on Sabattus Mountain. Samuel Libby, who removed to Wales in 1824, was a soldier in the war of 1812. Benjamin Sanborn came into town about 1849, and Jonathan Reynes, in 1843.

The first meeting-house stood near the centre of the town, and was a Union house. In 1826, a Free Baptist church was organized under the direction of Elder Aliezer Bridges; who in 1831 was succeeded by Rev. Allen Files, as pastor. The house was taken down in 1854, and rebuilt on the Pond road. It is used as a Union house by the Free Baptists, Methodists and Baptists.

Captain Joseph Small built the first school in town, lie was followed by Arthur Given, Daniel Evans, Fayette Mace, Richard Elder, Joel Small and Enoch Strout. Wales now has eight public schoolhouses, valued at $2,300. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $229,359. In 1880 it was $198,578. The population at the same date was 556. In 1880, it was 505.

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