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

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

Jay is the south-western town of Franklin County, and is 30 miles north of Lewiston. It is bounded north by Wilton, east by Chesterville, south by Livermore and East Livermore, in Androscoggin County. The town is nearly square in its form, and has an area of about 18,000 acres. The Androscoggin River runs south-eastward across the southwestern corner. The only other stream of magnitude is a large brook which comes down from Dixfield and Wilton through the western part of the town. The largest sheet of water is Perkin’s Pond, which has an area of about 150 acres. The highest eminence in town is Spruce Mountain, which has an altitude of about 2,000 feet. The usual varieties of trees are found in the forests. The rock is principally granite. The soil is loamy, and quite productive. Hay, corn, wheat, potatoes, oats and apples are raised in quantities beyond the need of the town. On the Androscoggin River in this town are three excellent waterpowers—the aggregate fall being about 36 feet. That near Jay Bridge is improved by a good darn, on which is a saw-mill. Jay Steam SawMill has an engine of 150 horse-power. At North Jay is a saw-mill, a brick-yard and several granite quarries. Bean’s Corner has a carriage-factory, and East Jay has a saw-mill. The Farmington Railroad passes through the town, having a station at Jay Bridge and at North Jay.

The township which is now Jay was granted to Capt. Joseph Phips and sixty-three others, for services in the French war of 1755, and was for a long time known as Phip’s Canada. It was incorporated in 1795, and named for Hon. John Jay. the eminent patriot and statesmen. The conditions of the grant were that it should be divided into rights of 400 acres each, one of which was to be reserved for Harvard College, one for the use of the University, and one for the schools. A settling committee appointed by the associates subsequently purchased the whole. There were no settlements previous to the close of the Revolutionary war. The earliest settlers were Simon Coolidge, Oliver Fuller, Samuel Eustis, Scarborough Parker, Moses Crafts, Isaac West, Thomas Fuller, Joseph Hyde, Nathaniel Jackson, Samuel Jackson, William Godding and William Atkinson. Jay Hill—where there is now a small village, and a bridge across the Androscoggin—was first settled by James Starr in 1802.

The Baptists, Universalist, and Free Baptists each have a church in the town. Jay has sixteen public schoolhouses, and her school property is valued at $4,200. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $497,029. In 1880 it was $483.601. The rate of taxation was 13 mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,490. In 1880 it was 1,291.

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