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

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

Dresden, is the most westerly town in Lincoln County. It is situated upon the Kennebec River, opposite Richmond, and is on the medial line between the northern and southern points of the county. Alna and Wiscasset lie on the east; on the north is Pittston, in Kennebec county; and on the south is Woolwich, Sagadahoc County. Opposite, in the Kennebec, is the town of Perkins (Swan Island). Eastern River passes longitudinally through the town in a southwesterly direction. Gardiner’s Pond, one mile in length, is the ehief body of water.

The surface of the country is not greatly varied. The principal rock is a coarse granite. The soil is a sandy loam and clay. Hay, potatoes, barley arid wheat, are each cultivated to a considerable extent. The villages are Dresden Mills and West Dresden. The first is situated at the head of sloop navigation on Eastern River. The last is connected by a ferry with Richmond, the landing being near a station of the Maine Central Railroad.

The streams which furnish water-power are the Goud and Gardiner streams; and there were until within a few years saw and grist mills in operation upon both. The manufactures consist of hay-knives, boots and shoes, etc.

Dresden was formerly a part of Pownalboro, which embraced the town of Alna, Wiscasset and Perkins. The territory of these towns, excepting the last, was purchased by Christopher Lawson of the Indians in 1649, and sold by him to Messrs. Clark and Lake. The latter resided in the region until he was killed by the Indians. It was afterward owned by Sir Biby Lake, Edward Hutchinson and others. In a 1754, a fort was erected on the shore opposite the upper end of Swan Island, receiving its name of Fort Shirley, in compliment to Governor Shirley, of Massachusetts. This fort was commanded by Major Samuel Goodwin until it was dismantled. Pownalboro (incorporated in 1760) was named in honor of Governor Pownall, who had succeeded Shirley. It was the shire town of Lincoln County for thirtyfour years. Its court—house is still standing, nearly opposite the upper end of Swan Island, and in view from the cars of the Maine Central Railroad, on the western side of the river. It was 44 by 45 feet in ground dimensions, and three stories in height, as now. The courtroom was 45 by 19½ feet, with two fire places in it.

Three brothers, William, Charles, and Rowland Cushing, were among the early settlers in this part of the town, having taken up their residence here in 1760. They were for many years quite prominent in public affairs of the county and State. Dresden formed what was known as the west precinct of Pownalborough, the east being Alna, and the south Wiscasset; and these, in 1794, were incorporated as a town, taking its name from the German town from which some of the inhabitants had emigrated under the auspices of General Waldo. Major John Polereczky, a Frenchman, distinguished as a soldier in the American army under General Rochambeau, coming to reside here, was for fifteen years the town clerk. During the Revolution the town was in a troubled state; the royalist side being sustained by Rev. Jacob Bailey, an Episcopal clergyman, supported here mostly by an English missionary society. He appears to have been a pious man and faithful pastor; yet the outrageous treatment he received from those favorable to revolution led him to forsake the country and take refuge in Nova Scotia.

There is now an Episcopal and Nethodist church in the town. Dresden has a library of some 200 volumes, the property of the Dresden Library Society. There are nine public schoolhouses valued, with other school property, at $5,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $316,717. In 1880 it was $326,665. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 16½ mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 990. In 1880 it was 1,032.

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