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

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

Orland is situated upon the Penobscot, being the most northerly town in Hancock County upon that river, except one. It is at the head of Eastern River, 15 miles west of Ellsworth. At the northwestern part of the town are Toddy and Great Ponds, whose outlet furnishes the principal water-power of that town. "The surface conformation of Orland is peculiar. The hills are conical and precipitous, while the valleys approach the gorge form. Standing upon a picturesque knoll of 'modified drift,' on the farm of Frank Buck, one has a grand view of the erratic results of one of nature's tantrums. Before him are the evidences that in time past, the pent up waters that submerged the vast plane above the factory, burst their bounds, and with fearful force, cut a new outlet to the sea, formed Eastern River, and made an island of Verona." "In the eastern part of the town are masses of potash-feldspar granite rocks, which are crumbling into rockmeal; in the 'meal' gold is found. These boulders are of a porphyritic variety, with black mica. On the north-east side of Great Mountain is a cave which has been explored for sixty feet. It has several rooms with walls and ceiling of basaltic finish." [Samuel Wasson, in "Survey of Hancock County."] These mountains are supposed to belong to the Mountain Limestone period, that age of the growing continent when the cimoid "beads of St. Cuthbert" were formed. The highest of these elevations are Great Pond Mountain and Mason's. Mountain, 575 and 350 feet in height, respectively. The ponds are Alamoosic, Toddy, Heart and Craig's, the first being three and one-half by two and one-half miles, and the second nine by one and onehalf miles, in extent. The soil is a clay loam; and the crops most cultivated are hay, grain and potatoes. There is, in general, a tidiness about the farms that would indicate thrift; and many are supplied with mowing and other labor-saving machines. At Orland village are. a lumber and grist-mill, a brick-yard, and a ship-yard. At East Orland there is a flour-mill and a saw-mill. There are also saw-mills in other parts of the town. The woollen factory in Oriand, when in full operation, turned out in one season 30,000 yards of repellants, at a cost of six cents a yard less than any similar establishment in the State. Orland is on the Bangor and Castine, and the Bluehill and Sedgewick stage-lines. The nearest railroad station is at Bucksport, three miles distant.

The township is said to have been the Number 2 of the grant to David Marsh. Other authorities say that it was granted to W. Dall, Nathaniel Snellings, Robert Treat, and others of Boston; but it appears quite likely that this was only grant of a portion at a later date, there having been. a large accession of settlers between 1767 and 1780.

In 1775 the men of this and No. 1 formed themselves into a milltary company, and also chose a Committee. of Safety. For a considerable period the town was called Alamasook, and then "Eastern River." It was incorporated in 1800. Its name is supposed to have been derived from "Oarland," an oar having been found upon its shores by Joseph Gross, the first settler, who came in 1764. Ebenezer Gross came in 1765, and Joseph Viles in 1766. The latter built the first framed house,-which was used for the plantation meetings until 1804, when the first schoolhouse was built. Zachariah Gross, the first child, was born in 1766. The first road was laid out in 1771, by John Hancock and Samuel Craig. The first saw and grist-mills were built at the lower falls by Calvin Turner, in 1773. Large accessions of inhabitants were made between 1767 and 1780, from Boston. The population in 1790 was 290. The first county road through the plantation was laid out in 1793. There are fifteen persons residing in the town who are above eighty years of age. Orland furnished 195 men for the Union cause during the war of the Rebellion, paying bounty to the amount of $14,855.

The Methodists, Congregationalists and Universalists each have a church in town. Orland has fifteen public schoolhouses, and the school property is valued at $6,500. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $374,390. In 1880 it was $358,325. The population in 1870 was 1,701. In 1880 it was 1,689.

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