History of Madison, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine
By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886
Transcribed by Betsey S. Webber

Madison is a pleasant farming and manufacturing town on
the eastern bank of the Kennebec, in the southern part of Somerset
County. It is bounded by Solon on the north, Cornville on the east,
Norridgewock on the south, and Anson on the west. It is separated
from the last by the Kennebec River. The area of the town is 30,000
acres. There are no high hills, but some considerable gorges. The
principal sheet of water is Madison Pond, or Hayden Lake, in the
eastern part of the town. It is 3 miles long and 1 bread. Nor-
ridgewock Falls, so called, furnish attractive and pleasing views. The
Kennebec here descends 90 feet in a horizontal distance of 1 mile.

The underlying rock in this town is chiefly slate. The soil is a
variety of loam, and quite fertile. Hay and cattle are the principal
products. The forests abound in hemlock, cedar, maple, beech, birch
and oak. The villages and mills are on the Kennebec at Madison
Bridge and East Madison, on the outlet of Madison Pond. There are
four saw-mills, a sash, blind and door, coffin and casket factory, a grist-
mill, a starch and an excelsior-factory, two carriage-factories, a horse-
rake-factory, slate-quarry, etc., in the town. The Somerset Rail-
road crosses the south-west corner of the town, where there is a sta-
tion. The Skowhegan station, on the Maine Central Railroad,
is five miles distant at the south-east. In the south-western part
of the town, on a plain about which the river makes an angle, is the
monument to Rasle, the missionary to the Abnaki Indians, and whose
residence was at the village of the Norridgewocks on this point. He
fell in an attack upon the village in 1724 by the English under Captains
Moulton and Hormon, in which the village was burned and the tribe
broken up. The monument was erected by Bishop Fenwick, of Bos-
ton. It consists of a granite obelisk 3 feet square at the base, and 11
feet in height, with an inscription recording the massacre. It marks
the spot where stood the church in which he ministered. Whittier has
well described the scenes which occurred here in the poem entitled
“Mogg Megone.”

“Well might the traveler stop to see
The tall, dark forms that take their way
From the birch canoe on the river shore,
And the forest paths, to that chapel door;
And marvel to mark the naked knees
And the dusky foreheads bending there,
While in coarse white vesture over these
In blessing or in prayer,
Stretching abroad his thin pale hands,
Like a shrouded ghost the Jesuit stands.”

This town was incorporated March 7, 1804, and named for President
Madison. A small tract was taken from Norridgewock and annexed
to Madison a few years since; which will seem to strangers as chiefly
important in bring Norridgewock Falls and the site of the Indian
village of Norridgewock into the south-western part of the town of

The town has churches of the Congregationalists, Methodists, and
Free Baptists - two of the last. The number of public schoolhouses
is eighteen, valued at $3,800. The valuation of estates in 1870 was
$510,437. In 1880 it was $546,077. The rate of taxation in the latter
year was 13 mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,401. In
1880 it was 1,315.

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