History of Bridgewater, Caribou, Castle Hill Plantation,
Fort Fairfield, Fort Kent, Frenchville and Hodgdon, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

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


Bridgewater is situated on the eastern border of the State, and of Aroostook County, 22 miles north of Houlton, on the stage-line from that place to the Upper Aroostook. It is bounded on the north by Blame, south by Monticello, west by an unnamed township and east by New Brunswick. The township is near 6 miles square. The Presque Isle and St. John’s road crosses the north-eastern part of the town. The Presque Isle River runs south-easterly across the northern part, receiving, near the eastern line, a tributary called Whitney Brook, from the Western part of the town. At the junction is a small village, and on a darn just below are a saw-mill and a grist-mill. One of the bridges at this place is about 500 feet in length, and is built of cedar.

Bridgewater Post-Office is in the northern part of the town, midway from east to west. The sheets of water are two ponds lying near together, in the northern part of the town, called the “Bridgewater Lakes,” and Portland Lake. Each of them contains about 150 acres. The town has lumber mills, a tannery, a starch-factory, a steam flourmill, a buckwheat-mill, and other manufactures common, to small villages. The principal underlying rock in this town is limestone. The soil is a compound of gravel and light loam. Hay, wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat and potatoes are cultivated and yield well. This township was originally granted by Massachusetts, the northern portion to Bridgewater Academy nnd the southern to Portland Academy. It was incorporated March 2, 1858. The town Sent 25 men to put down the Rebellion, of whom 4 were lost. The churches in town are Free Baptist and Methodist. Bridgewater has five public schoolhouses, the entire school property being valued at $1,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $83,263. In 1880 it was $103,406. The rate of taxation in the latter year was about 2 per cent. The population in 1870 was 605. In 1880 it was 722.


Caribou is situated in the north-eastern part of Aroostook County, at the junction of the Madawaska with the Aroostook River. It comprises two contiguous townships; the northern one having formerly been Forestville Plantation, while the southern comprised Lyndon on the west, and the Eaton Grant, lying in the north-eastern bend of the Aroostook. The principal hills, and these not large enough to have a name upon the map, are a little south-east of the middle of the town, enclosed in a bend of the Aroostook. Limestone is the prevailing rock. The soil is a dark loam, yielding excellent crops of wheat, oats and potatoes. Maple, birch, cedar and spruce form the bulk of the forest trees. The Aroostook River passes up through the southern half to the centre of the town, then turning to the south-east, passes out on the eastern side. Caribou Stream enters from the west, discharging into the Aroostook at Caribou Village, near the center of the town. The Little Madawaska River comes down through the northern part of the town, forming a junction with the Aroostook near the eastern line. Otter Brook flows in from the north-west between the two other streams; while near the southern line of the town Hardwood Creek comes into the Aroostook from the west. There are several other streams of considerable size, forming a remarkable confluence of water-courses, several of which afford some available water-power. There are mills on the Little Madawaska near the middle of the town, on the eastern side, and on Otter Brook, near its junction with the Aroostook; but the large number are on Caribou Stream, at Caribou Village. There are here saw, planing, carpentry, shingle and grist mills, and a starch-factory, four of which are run by steam-power. Boots and shoes and harnesses are the principal other manufactures. This town is the terminus of the New Brunswick Railway from Frederickton and Woodstock, N. B., and of stage-lines to Van Buren, New Sweden, and Fort Fairfield. It was incorporated April 5, 1859.

There are meetings of the Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Universalists and Episcopalians, some of which societies have houses of worship. There is a high-school at the village a part of the year. The town has sixteen public schoolhouses, valued with other school property at $6,800. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $155,702. In 1880 it was $337,388. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 2 per cent. The population in 1860 was 297; in 1870 it was 1,410; and in 1880, near 2,500


Castle Hill Plantation is situated near the middle of the eastern part of Aroostook County, 55 miles north-west of Houlton. It is on the stage-line from Presque Isle to Ashland. Its boundaries are Wade Plantation on the north, Mapleton on the east, and Sheridan Plantation on the west. On the south is the township containing Haystack Mountain and Squawpan Lake. The township is without high hills and large ponds. The highest land is near the middle of the southern side. The surface is well drained; the Aroostook River running eastward through the north-western part, receiving within the town Well’s Brook and several other streams from the south. Sawyer and Libby brooks empty into Presque Isle Stream, in the southern part of Mapleton and others drain the southern and eastern parts.

The Universalists and the Baptists have societies in the town, and sustain ministers a portion of the time. The plantation has six public schoolhouses; and the total school liroperty is valued at $2,500. There are six lots reserved for school and other public purposes. The valuation in 1870 was $20,053. In 1880 it was $27,636. The population in 1870 was 237. In 1880 it was 419.


Fort Fairfield is situated on Aroostook River near its junction with the St. John, and has New Brunswick for its eastern boundary. It comprises two townships of excellent land. The Aroostook winds from west to east through its midst ; and along the south side of the river runs a branch of the New Brunswick Railway. The surface is uneven, without high hills, and the town abounds in pleasing scenery.

The principal streams tributary to the Aroostook in this town are Fitzherbert’s Stream and Johnston, Lovely, Grey and Hurd Brooks. Livingstone River crosses the north-east corner of the town, receiving one considerable tributary froni the west; and River DeChute, crossing the south-west corner, also receives a tributary stream from within the town. The principal water-powers are on Fitzherbert’s Stream and Lovely Brook. There are on the various streams five saw-mills for long lumber and shingles, a planing and plaster mill, two grist-mills, two starch-factories, one cask and barrel factory, one furniture-factory, etc. The starch factories during the season of 1880 used 162,000 bushels of potatoes. The town is 46 miles north of Houlton, by stage route. A branch of the New Brunswick Railway has one or more stations in the town, and it is the terminus of stage-routes to Blame, Van Buren and Andover, N. B.

Fort Fairfield was incorrorated March 11, 1858. The town then included only letter D., lying mostly south of the Aroostook. In 1867, Plymouth Grant, called also “Sarsfield Plantation,” was annexed. The name was from the fort built within the town in the period of the border difficulties. The fort was named for John Fairfield, who was governor at that period. The first settlements were about 1816, the settlers being from New Brunswick. The place assumed prominence from its position during the boundary fracas in 1839; following which, a company of United States troops were quartered there. The railroad that runs from Gibson, opposite Frederickton, N. B., reached the town in 1875.

The town has associations of Masons, P. of H., and I.O.G.T. There are churches of the Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Methodists, Free Baptists, Roman Catholics and Universalists. The village has a circulating library. The number of public schoolhouses is twenty-one. The value of the school property is $6,900. The value of estates in 1870 was $276,800. In 1880 it was $468,471. The population in 1870 was 1,893. In 1880 it was 2,807.


Fort Kent is situated on the south bank of St. John’s River, in the northern part of Aroostook County. It is 126 miles N.N.W. of Houlton via Caribou and Van Buren. Frenchville adjoins it on the east, Wallagrass Plantation on the south of the western half, and New Brunswick on the north. The territory is about 11 miles in length along the river east and west, and from 3 to 6½ miles in width. The surface is somewhat uneven with few hills above 200 feet in height. The streams that furnish water-power within the town are Fish River and Daigle and Perley Brooks. The fall on the first is about a mill above its confluence with the St. John, and is occupied by a saw—mill having several single saws and a gang, and a grist-mill with four sets of stones. There is also a good power on the St. John River about a mile below the mouth of Fish River. Other powers are being improved, and will doubtless soon mingle the hum of mills with the roar of their falls.

Slate is the underlying rock. The soil of the upland is a dark loam, while there is some rich interval land. Oats, wheat, buckwheat, barley and potatoes are all cultivated, and yield well. The buildings in the town are generally in good repair, showing the people to be a thrifty community. The centre of business is near the mouth of Fish River. The town is the terminus of the stage-lines to the St. Francis.

Fort Kent was first settled by Acadian-French refugees. The fortification from which the town takes its name was erected in 1841, and was named in honor of Governor Kent. Among the valued citizens not now living were I. H. Page, Major Wm. Dickey and B. W. Mallett. The church organizations are the Congregationalists and Roman Catholics. The latter have a church-edifice. The Madawaska Training School for Teachers, a State institution, is located here. Fort Kent has nine public schoolhouses, valued at $1,725. There are also 1,000 acres reserve land for public purposes. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $65,357. In 1880 it was $72,666. The population in 1870 was 1,034. In 1880 it was 1,512.


Frenchville lies on the southern bank of the St. John River, in the north-eastern part of Aroostook County, 110 miles north-east of Hoititon. It is on the stage-line from Van Buren to Fort Kent. Forinerly it was the plantation of Dionne, named for Father Dionne, who built there the first Catholic church—St. Luce. It was incorporated Feb. 23, 1869, under the name of Dickeyville, in honor of Hon. William Dickey, of Fort Kent. The name was changed Jan. 26, 1871, to indicate the nationality of the inhabitants.

The town is very irregular in form, lying on a south-eastern bend of the St. John. On the south-eastern side it rests on the northern end of Long Lake, the north-eastern of the Fish River Lakes. The principal streams are Dufour, Gagnon, Rosignol, Bourgoin, and Cyr brooks, all emptying into the St. John, and each having falls suitable for mills. Gagnon Brook has two-saw-mills and two grist-mills, and Cyr Brook a small saw-mill. There are other small saw-mills, a clothdressing mill and a starch-factory in the town.

The soil is sandy on some streams, but there is much interval, and the fertility is general. The crops cultivated are chiefly buckwheat, oats, peas, wheat and potatoes. The most numerous forest trees are maple, cedar and fir.

The Catholics have the only church in the town. Frenchyille has twelve public schoolhouses; and the children of school age number 1,112. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $80,600. In 1880 it was $107,753. The rate of taxation in 1880 was 1¼ per cent. The number of polls in 1870 was 274. In 1880 the number was 875. The population in 1870 was given in the report massed with townships 16 and 17, Range 5, the aggregate being 1,851. In 1880, the same were given at 2,288.


Hodgdon lies on the eastern border of Aroostook County. It is bounded on the north by Houlton, west by Linneus, south and east by New Brunswick. The area is 36 square miles. The surface is generally smooth; but there is one considerable eminence known as Westford Hill. Meduxnekeag River runs through the western part of the town front south to north, furnishing at Hodgdon Village, about midway of the town, power sufficient for several mills. The manufactures here are long and short lumber, chairs, flour and meal, carriages, boots and shoes, harnesses, etc. There is also a steam lumber-mill. Houlton, about five miles distant, is the nearest railroad station. Hodgdon is on the stage-line from Houlton to Danforth, on the European and North American Railway.

The town was incorporated in 1833, haviiig been formed from two half townships, the northern one being the Groton Academy grant, and the south half, the Westfield Academy grant. The first settlers were John Duval, James Daggett, James U. Parker, Joseph Kendall, Jabez Bradbury, Thomas Lander, Charles Lyon, Rufus Wiggin, James Ham, Joseph Gerow, Joseph E. Jackins, Daniel Smith and others. Their titles and the name of their town were from John Hodgdon, the proprietor.

There are in the town Baptist, Free Baptist and Methodist societies. The number of public schoolhouses is nine; and the value of the school property is set at $4,500. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $197,832. In 1880 it was $173,627. The population in 1870 was 989. In 1880 it was 1,047.

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