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

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

Gray is situated near the middle of Cumberland County and 16 miles north of Portland. The Maine Central Railway passes through the eastern part of the town, about two miles from the village of Gray Corner. The bounding towns are New Gloucester on the north-east, North Yarmouth and Cumberiand on the south-east, Windham on the south-west, and Raymond on the north-west. The larger part of Little Sebago Pond lies along the north-western side of the town, and in the north-eastern part is the small body of water called “Dry Pond.” The town is regular in its form, being nearly square. It is about 12 miles long by 10 wide. Gray Corner, near the centre of the town, is the largest village. It is situated on elevated plains surrounded by hills. The location is remarkably healthy; and—as might be supposed—there are many cged people living in the town. The soil is chiefly a clayey or sandy loam, and fairly productive.. There are many farms under superior cultivation. Granite is the prevailing rock, and is quarried to some extent. The larger manufactures are at Dry Mills and North Gray. They consist of the Falmouth Mills, at the latter place, manufacturing repellants, one grainmill, twelve saw-mills (one of which is driven by steam), in different parts of the town, manufacturing lumber into its various forms for use. There are also a tannery, several manufactories of granite and marble, marbleized slate, horse-blankets, carriages and sleighs, patent shuttles, etc.

The territory of Gray was granted to certain inhabitants of Boston in 1735, upon petition to the Gencral Court representing that they had large families and were in straitened circumstances. The first settler, or one of the first settlers, was Moses Twitchell, who came from Westboro, Mass., Jabez Matthews and William Webster followed soon after; and in the course of fifteen or twenty years several other families moved in. The Indians once made a descent upon the settlement and destroyed the cattle, the meeting-house and all the dwelling houses, obliging the inhabitants to fly to other towns. After peace was restored they returned, erecting a new meeting-house, and building a block-house 50 feet long and 25 feet wide, around which they erected a garrison 100 feet long and 75 wide. There were rumors of intended attack by the Indians, out they were not further molested.

The township had been without a name until about 1756, when it began to be called New Boston. In 1778, it was incorporated under the name of Gray, in honor, it is supposed, of Thomas Gray, one of the proprietors. The town furnished men and supplies for the army in the Revolutionary war, and Moses Twitchell, the first settler, died in the public service in Canada. The first lawyer of the town was Simon Greenleaf, who will he remembered as among the first of American jurists. The Congregationalists, Baptists and Methodists, each have a church-edifice; and the Universalist society worships in the town-hall, which is an excellent two_story building of brick. The Pennell Institute is intended to serve as a high-school for the town. Gray has twelve public schoolhouses, valued at an aggregate of $6,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $480,780. In 1880 it was $572,122. The rate of taxation in 1880 is 13and 7 tenths mills on a dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,768. The census of 1880 places it at 1,798.

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