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

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

Lee is a small town in the eastern part of Penobscot County, on what is called the “Upper Route" twm Bangor to Calais, 60 miles from each city. It is bounded on the north by Winn, east by Springfield, and west b Lincoln. Much of the hind is of excellent quality, and bore originally a dense growth of the hard woods, with hemlock, spruce and pine. In the southern part of the town are several ponds, the largest being Mattakeunk (area, 1,000 acres) and Ware ponds, the head of the Passadunmkeag Stream. Lee village, the chief centre of business, is situated on Mattakeunk Stream, near the pond of the same name, where there is a good water-power. There are here two sawmills—one a board, shingle and grist-mill, a tannery, and wheel, tinware, and furniture factories. Near the village is a good trotting park, where fairs are held. The nearest railroad station is that of the European and North American Railway at Lincoln village, 12 miles west of Lee village.

This township was originally granted by Massachusetts to Williams College, by whom it was sold to parties living in Cumberland County. There was some defect in the titles, which resulted in prolonged litigation, retarding settlements and diminishing the prosperity of the town. The suits were at last decided by the Supreme Court of the United Stated in favor of the settlers. In 1824, when the settlement began, there was no road nearer than Passadumkeag, 28 miles below. Jeremiah Fifleld and his wife were the first who moved in. The first mill was on the Mattakeunk Stream, at the point where the village now stands, and was erected in 1827. The town was incorporated in 1832, having at that time about 400 inhabitants.

In 1845, the Legislature of the State incorporated the Lee Normal Academy, endowing it with half a township of land, which the trustees subsequently sold for about $4,000. This sum now constitutes a permanent. fund for the support of the school. The institution remains a monument of the sagacity and public spirit of those of the early settlers who were instrumental in its establoshment. Public worship has also been valued and maintained from the first; and many of both sexes have gone out froni this community bearing with them the good influences with which they had become imbued.

The town bas now Congregationalist, Universalist, Baptist and Free Baptist churches. The number of public schoolhouses is nine; and the school property of the town is valued at $2,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $139,343. In 1880 it was $109,953. The population in 1870 was 960. In 1880 it was 894.

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