History of Brownville, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

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

Brownville lies in the south-eastern part of Piseataquis County. Pleasant River runs from north to south through the western part. The area of the town is 21,320 acres. The stage route from the Bangor and Piscataquis station in Milo to Katahdin Iron Mines runs through the town. Brownville is bounded on the north by Township Number 5 (next east of Katahdin Iron Mines), west by Williamsburg, south by Milo, and east by Schoodic Pond township,-the pond lying on a portion of the boundary line. The upland ridges constitute the chief portion of the town. On these the soil is stony but productive. Along the stream it is a light, rich loam. The productions consist chiefly of slate, of which three or more quarries are wrought. The Bangor and Piscataquis Slate Company opened the first in 1843. This quarry has sent out from 8,000 to 12,000 squares of slate annually, which sold in Bangor at from $35,000 to $40,000. When fully operated, it employs about 60 men, paying out in wages $25,000 a year. Merrill's quarry was opened in 1846. Mr Merrill owns in connection 1,500 acres of land and has put up the buildings to prepare annually 30,000 squares of roofing slate. About 80 men are steadily employed. This quarry is about 2 miles from Brownville Village, on the narrow gauge railroad to Katahdin Mines. The Highland quarry, more recently opened, shows slate of superior quality. Many of the inhabitants are Welsh, having been brought in to work the slate, to which they were accustomed. They are industrious, arid in most cases excellent citizens.

The principal manufactories of the town are saw, clapboard and grist mills, a shovel-handle and a carriage factory,-at the village in the southern part of the town.

The first two or three purchasers of the township failed to meet their engagements, and it reverted to the State. In 1805, a Mr. Holland explored it, and soon after this it was purchased by Moses Brown, Esq., and Major Josiah Hills. of Newburyport, who commenced its settlement. In 1806, they built a dam and mills on Pleasant River, where the mills at the village now stand; and Major Hills, moved in and took charge of the business. Dr. Isaac Wilkins moved his family in in 1808, or earlier; Rev. Hezekiah May, a Congregationalist, came in the same year, preaching on Sunday through the year, and teaching school winters. Deacon Francis Brown, from Newbury, Massachusetts, who came into town in 1812, was the first trader in the place, and a man who exerted a healthful influence upon the community.

The inhabitants organized as Brownville Plantation in 1819, and in 1824 it was incorporated as the town of Brownville.

The town now has a Congregational and also a Methodist church. It has eight public schoolhouses, valued at $4,400. Its valuation in 1870 was $157,626. In 1880 it was $212,452. Its population in 1870 was 860. In 1880 it was 896.

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