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

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

Palermo, the south-western town of Waldo County, has Montville and Liberty on the east, Freedom in Waldo, and Albion in Kennebec County on the north, China on the west, arid Somerville in Lincoln, and Washington in Knox County on the south. This town is about 8½ miles long N.N.E. and S.S.W., and about 5½ miles in width. The surface is generally varied with hilld and dales; and having good roads, is extremely pleasant for summer drives. Sheepscot Great Pond, 1½ square miles in area, lies in the southern part of the town. Branch Pond, on the north-western border, is the next in size; and scattered over the town are numerous smaller ones. The soil is good, consisting mainly of a gravelly loam. The inhabitants are principally devoted to agriculture. The largest village is Branch Mills (Palermo P. 0.), but a portion of it is in the adjoining town of China. It is situated on the outlet of Branch Pond on the western line. There are at this place eight mills manufacturing boards, shingles, staves and headings. At North Palerma is a manufactory of drag-rakes; at the Centre is a board and shingle-mill, and a stone quarry; at East Palermo are two lumber-mills. This town is 25 miles west of Belfast, on the stage-route to Augusta, the latter being about 18 miles distant. Vassalboro is the nearest railroad station.

Palermo was earliest known as Sheepscot Great Pond, from the body of water in the southern part of the town through which the Sheepscot River runs, and around which were the first settlements. The petition for incorporation was presented in 1801, and set forth among other things that they had a great proportion of roads to make and maintain within their bounds, and 10 miles of road at least out of their limits, which road led to the head of navigation on Sheepscot River, their nearest market. Among the 55 signers of this petition were Gabriel Hamilton, Jacob Greely, Jabez Lewis, James Dennis, William C. Hay, Joseph Whittier, Charles Lewis, Samuel and Stephen Longfellow, John Gliddon and Joseph Bowler. The township was surveyed in August, 1800, by William Davis. The act of incorporaton was passed June 23 1804.

The churches in this town are those of the Baptists, Free Baptists, and Methodists. The number of public schoolhouses is 13; and their value is set at $3,500. The population in 1870 was 1,223. In 1880 it was 1,118. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $241,433. In 1880 it was $254,966.

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