Historical Sketch of FARMINGTON, Maine
Leading Business Men of


Farmington, Maine

IN a secluded, yet easily accessible region of the Garden State, lies one of the most beautiful and attractive towns of New England. Farmington has long been known and sought by lovers of nature for its rare and unique charms. Situated in the southern part of Franklin County, of which it. is the shire town, it is reached directly by the Maine Central Railroad, of which it is the terminus, being about ninety-five miles distant from Portland. It is also the southern terminus of the Sandy River Railroad, being the central station and starting-place for all the Io¾rely region between it and the Rangely Lakes. It is a large town, being about ten miles in length and seven in breadth, containing twenty-seven thousand square acres of unusually fertile soil. When it was first settled it received its name Far- mington because of its great fertility of soil and great ad vantages for farming. The chief products of the soil, since an early period, have been hay and wool. The Sandy River runs through the town almost north and south, dividing it in the center, the most populous part of the town being to the east of the river. The most prominent elevation in the town is called "Powder House Hill," and is a favorite resort for those seeking and delighting in the magnificent prospect of the surrounding country which it affords. The town is famed for its broad, smooth streets, beautified by double rows of magnificent shade trees, and the charming residences along many of them. One most striking feature of the town is the number and excellence of the educational institutions which it possesses, rendering it in this respect unusually advanced, even for New England. The "Willows, Young Ladies Seminary," "Western Normal School," "Little Blue School," and "Wendell Institute," are some of the best known of these, which are all marked by the beauty of their buildings and grounds, their fine facilities and scholarly curriculum and management. The town was first explored, with a view to settlement, in the great year of American Independence. In 1776, Stephen Titcomb, Robert Grover, James Henry, Robert Alexander, and James MacDonald, all from Topsham, Me., arrived here, and took a long and careful survey of the land. By making a line out of pieces of bark joined together, they measured off the land, and laid out settlements for each, deciding that the richness of the soil and advantageous situation made settlement a most obvious and fortunate enterprise.

The land which was taken up by the Fariningtou settlers, belonged to William Tyng & Co., of Massachusetts, having been granted to William Tyng in 1703, on account of services rendered to the State. It was accordingly first called "Tyngtour," being also known as "Plantation Number One," and "Sandy River Plantation." The settlement continued to grow steadily, though slowly, during the Revo lutionary War, and in 1780, a survey of the land was made by Col. Joseph North; In 1794, the town had - grown sufficiently to obtain a charter of incorporation, on demanding it. Three years later, in 1797, a post-office was opened here, and communication with the outside world well established by the opening of the regular stage route That the early settlers were of an unusually cultured. type is.shown by the marked and intelligent. attention which they gave to educational matters from the beginning. In 1798, Farmington was first represented at the General Court of Massachusetts, by Hon. Supply Belcher. Among the eminent citizens who have honored Farmington with their admiration and interest in their residence here have been Jacob and John S. C. Abbott, the well-known authors, Hon. Hiram Belcher, the founder of the "Willows," (which was for years one of the most beautiful Young Ladies' Seminaries in the State), Hon. Robert Goodenow and others. In addition to the libraries of the educational institutions there is a fine circulating and a social library in the town. The public schools, also, as well as the private academies, are conducted with great ability and most satisfactory results.

During the war of 1812, the town was too small, and remote from the seacoast, to contribute much to New England's great achievements for American Independence at that time, but in the Civil War it took a most earnest and glorious share. It sent nearly one-tenth of all its inhabitants, two hundred and sixty-eight men, to the war, of whom fifty-seven were sacrificed to the maintenance of the great cause, and lost to many mourning friends at home. The town also contributed generously of its wealth to the government and soldiers.

The growth of population in Farmington has been steadily continuous, iifter the substantial, good old-fashioned way of sturdy country towns, whose strength and life are more highly developed by being slow and long in growth. In 1850, it was 2,725, in 1860, 3,106, 1870, 3,251, 1880, 3,353. In 1880, the valuation of the town was $1,601,271. Since 1880, the growth of the town has been somewhat more rapid, and now its population is nearly 4,000, and its valuation in the region of $2,000,000.

The great fertility of the soil makes farming particularly advantageous, and the wool industry is especially developed, this being one of the largest wool-producing towns in New England. Among the leading business industries are carriage-making, hardware, and. tools of all sorts, grain and produce, wool, baskets, bricks, lumber, wood-turnings, etc. The business enterprise of the citizens of Farmington have accomplished great results against many obstacles, and the introduction of the railroad has been an inestimable boon to the commercial affairs of the region. The manufacturing interests of Farinington have made marked progress in recent years, and with the improvement of transportation facilities there can be no doubt that great material results can be reaped in this department of industry, in whIch, indeed, lies the great hope and promise of all New England's industrial progress. Especial privileges are offered by the enterprising citizens to manufacturers who will locate here, and such as are worthy of the careful attention of all meditating a change of business or the starting of a new manufacturing industry.

The social life of Farmington is marked by the refinement and culture of an old New England town. The great care taken in providing the best and broadest education, and the high moral tone of the community, unite in making the social charms of residence here in harmony with the beauties of nature which environ it. The people are distinguished for their liberality and generous kindliness in hospitality, and in every good work and word. Literary topics naturally form a great feature of socIal gatherings, and inspire much attention and interest among both young and old. For all who experience the delightful charms of life and society amid these pleasant surroundings, the reminiscence is always one of the most bright and fascinating of all past experiences.

It would be impossible to describe within our brief space the advantages of this region from the tourist standpoint. The immediate vicinity contains all the attractions which make every year larger numbers of delighted visitors flock to the inland resorts of the Garden State. The river, on which the light canoe can penetrate far into the deep forest, and through still secluded ponds, offers fine attractions to the sportsman. It is a favorite center of lovers of the rod and gun in all seasons. Many ponds in all directions open up an almost inexhaustible field of sport to the fisherman, and the gunner does not have to go far before he comes upon the docks of piping partridges and the tracks of deer and caribou. Through all this region up to the Rangeley Lakes and beyond, is a veritable sportsman's paradise, which is becoming widely famed throughout the United States, and of this great region Farmiugton is the natural center and basis of supplies. In addition, the opportunities for rest and recreation, which, in the nervous hurry of our American life, are becoming more and more a supreme necessity to our physical well-being, are here afforded in abundance.

Return to [ Maine History ] [ History at Rays-Place ] [ Rays-place.com ]

Maine Counties - Androscoggin - Aroostook - Cumberland - Franklin - Hancock - Kennebec - Knox - Lincoln - Oxford - Penobscot - Piscataquis - Sagadahoc - Somerset - Waldo - Washington - York