History of Temple, Weld & Wilton, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

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

Temple is situated in the southern part of Franklin County, between Weld and Farmington. Avon bounds it on the north and Wilton on the south. The town is nearly square in form, measuring about 6 miles on either side. The middle of the town is not greatly uneven, but the base of the Blue Mountain range intrudes somewhat upon the northern border. There are two high hills in the north-eastern part of the town, and a long elevation along the western side. Averill Mountain, a little south of the centre of the town, is the highest peak. The prevailing rock is red sandstone. The soil is loamy, and formed in a great measure from the rock. Maple, beach and birch constitute the greater part of the woods. Good crops are raised of hay, wheat, corn, potatoes, oats, beans and apples. The town is excellent for grazing, and. is noted for the excellence of its sheep. Of the four considerable ponds in town, the largest is Farnum Pond, 2 miles long and 1 wide, and the next Drury Pond, about one-half as large. Temple Stream, rising among the mountains in Avon, runs southward across the eastern end of the town, furnishing the principal water-power. Temple Mills, situated on Temple Stream, in the south-eastern part of the town, is the principal business centre. There are here, or near by, three saw mills, an excelsior and stave-mill, a grist-mill, and a carriage factory. Temple is 5 miles from Farrnington, which furnishes its nearest railroad communication. The streets in the vicinity of the village are well shaded with maple and elm, and pleasant residences abound.

This town was formerly known as Number One of Abbott’s purchase. The first settlement was about 1796, by Joseph Holland and Samuel Briggs. They were soon followed by Thos. Russell, James Tuttle, Moses Adams, John Kenney, Jonathan Ballard, William Drury, Asa Mitchell, Samuel Lawrence, Gideon and George Staples. At the commencement of its settlement Temple was owned by Benjamin Phillips, of Boston, but was surveyed and settled under the agency of Jacob Abbott, of Brunswick, who subsequently purchased the residue of Mr. Phillip’s eastern lands. The town was incorporated in 1803, taking its name from a town in New Hampshire from which many of the early settlers emigrated.

Temple has nine public schoolhouses, which, together with other school property, are valued at $2,600. The estates were, in 1870, valued at $161,981. In 1880 it was $150,245. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 2½ per cent. The population in 1870 was 640. In 1880 it was 580.


Weld is situated in the south-western part of Franklin County, having as boundaries, Phillips and Number Six on the north, Avon and Temple on the east, Carthage and Perkins plantation on the south. The area is 48 square miles. The town is almost surrounded by mountains, either within its limits, or just outside. There is a group of three at the north-east corner, of which the highest is Black Mountain. In the eastern part are Centre and Hedgehog hills, with other high hills in the southern and western portion. Just over the eastern border are Blue Mountain and Little Blue, the former 2,804 feet in height. In the broad plain-like valley forming the middle por tion of the town is Webb's Pond, whose outlet is Webb's River, emptying into the Androscoggin at Dixfield village. The scenery of the town, by reason of these features, is very beautiful and noble. The rock is principally gneissic. The soil, in general, is a gravelly loam. In the forests thrive the usual variety of trees native to the middle region of Maine. Corn, potatoes, wheat and oats are all cultivated profitably, and apple orchards are numerous and prolific.

The town has two villages, Weld Upper Village, near the head of the pond, and Weld Lower Village, about two miles distant nearer the foot,-both on the eastern side. Both partake of the general beauty of the town. In these places are a spool-factory, employing about 25 hands in summer and 40 in winter; five saw-mills, employing about 20 hands, and three box-mills, with 25 hands most of the year. Both steam and water-power are used. Other manufactures are fork and shovel-handles, butter-tubs, harnesses, tinware, etc. The villages are about 16 miles west of Farmington, and are connected by stage with the Maine Central Railroad at Wilton, about 12 miles distant from the lower village.

Weld was settled about 1800. Nathaniel Kittredge, Caleb Holt, James Houghton, Abel Holt, Joseph and Abel Russell were of the first settlers. The township was surveyed by Samuel Titcomb, for the State. It was lotted by Philip Bullen in 1797. Jonathan Philips, of Boston, was the purchaser from the State. Jacob Abbot and Benjamin Weld, in 1815, purchased Mr. Philip's unsold lands in Maine, and commenced the sale to settlers. Mr. Abbott also engaged in the settlement of other towns, and procured the location of the Coos road, by the State. It ran from Chesterville through Wilton, Carthage and Weld, passing the notch by Mount Metallic, thence through Byron and East Andover to New Hampshire. Mr. Weld was - of Boston;

Mr. Abbot was from Wilton, N. H., but removed to Brunswick, Me., where lie died in 1820, aged seventy-four years. He was succeeded in the business of settling his lands by his son, Jacob Abbot, who died in Farmington in 1847, at the age of seventy. Weld is the birth-place of the publisher of this work, who still cherishes a warm regard for his childhood's home, shown by his kindly interest in all that relates to the town.

The town was incorporated in 1816, and derived its name from Mr. Weld, one of the owners. It had previously been known as Webb's Pond Plantation.

Dr. L. Perkins was one of the most esteemed of the former citizens. The first preaching appears to have been by Rev. Lemuel Jackson of Greene, in 1804; and a Baptist church was constituted in 1809. There are now a Congregational church, and one occupied by both the Free Baptists and Methodists. Weld has eleven public schoolhouses, valued with other school property at $4,000. The valuation in 1870 was $245,260. In 1880 it was $231,911. The population in 1870 was 1,130. In 1880 it was 1,040.


Wilton it situated in the southern part of Franklin County, baying Farmington on the east, Carthage on the west, Temple on the north, and Jay on the south. The town is about ten miles long from east to west, and seven wide. The principal sheet of water is Wilson’s Pond, about 14 square miles in area, situated midway of the northern part. In the northern part is North Pond, nearly as large as the last; and in the south-east is Pease Pond, of smaller size. The soil of the town is generally fertile, and the usual forest trees flourish. The business centres of the town are Wilton and East Wilton. The last has a station of the Farmington branch of the Maine Central railroad; the former has a station about one and one-half miles distant. The chief occupation of the inhabitants is farming; and the well-cultivated appearance of the farms and the neatness and good repair of the buildings indicate thrift.

At East Wilton the largest manufactories are the Moosehead Mills and the Holt scythe-factory. The manufactures are woolens, scythes, the lightning hay-cutter, moccasins, harnesses, tinware, packed fruits, etc. The chief manufacturies at Wilton village are the Furnel woolen factories, a superior flour-mill, the Wilton Cheese Factory, and a tannery. The manufactures are furniture, leather, boots, cloths (meltons, cassimeres and repellants), shingles, boards, scythe-sharpen ers, potash, flour and meal, cheese, canned corn (2 factories), etc. East Wilton is a beautiful village, the dwellings being scattered along a street at the base of a grassy bill, upon whose top waves a considerable forest; while below, on the other side of the road, flows quietly the spreading stream which carries the mills. Wilton Village, two or three miles distant, occupies the bottom and side of a picturesque valley, with a wild wood on the opposite hillside; and between this and the principal street for a fourth of a mile rushes Wilson’s Stream, which furnishes the power .f both villages. This is the outlet of Wilson’s Pond; which occupies so elevated a position that the stream furnishes nine powers within the town. The pond according to the town plan, contains an area of 190 acres; while at one point it is over 175 feet in depth. This large body of water retains the heat to such a degree that there is no trouble with ice at the mills near the pond. In a cornmancling position stands the noble building of the Wilton Academy, of the few remaining of these valuable institutions.

The township which is now Wilton was granted to Captain Tyng and company, of Concord, Mass., for an excursion against the Indian enemy, in which a dangerous savage called Harry was killed. In 1785 the township was explored by Solomon Adams and others, located by Samuel Titcomb, surveyor for the State, and lotted by Mr. Adams in 1787. The explorers called it Harrytown, in memory of the ill-fated Indian; but the first settler called it Tyngtown, in honor of the grantee. In 1790, Samuel Butterfield settled in Wilton and built a saw and grist mill at East Wilton. At the same period Isaac Brown became a resident; and after these soon followed William Walker, Ammial Clough, Joseph Webster, Silas Gould, Ebenezer Eaton, Josiah Perham, Ebenezer Brown, Josiah Perley and Josiah Blake. Henry Butterfield, who, at sixteen years of age, cut the first tree within the limits of the town, as well as Captain Hammon Brown, the first male child born in town, were a few years since, still alive and resident in Wilton,—whose territory they bad seen to change from a wilderness to cultivated farms and busy villages.

At Wilton village are a church belonging to the Congregationalists, one to the Methodists, and one to the Universalists. At East Wilton are a Methodist, Free Baptist, Congregational Union, and Universalist church. Wilton has thirteen public schoolhouses, which, together with other school property, are valued at $15,000. The valuation of the town in 1870 was $595,260. In 1880 it was $638,797. The population in 1870 was 1,906. In 1880 it was 1,739.

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