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

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

Perry lies on Passamaquoddy Bay, in the south-east part of Washington County. Robbinston bounds it upon the north and Pembroke on the west. On the south is Lubee Bay and Eastport, and on the east is Passamaquoddy Bay. The town is about 7½ miles in extreme length, and 5 miles is the greatest width, but following the indentations and projections of the shore it has about 40 miles of sea-coast. Nosahick Pond, or Boyden Lake, the principal body of water, is about 5 miles long and 2 miles wide. Little River, its outlet, is the principal stream affording several good mill sites. On these are saw-mills, manufacturing laths, staves, and boxes; also a grist-mill and a cardingmill.

The shores of Perry are bold, and the adjacent waters deep; so that vessels of 100 tons can, in most places, lie so near as to be laden from the bank by wheeling the cargo from 50 to 80 feet. The tide rises here thirty feet. The surface of the town is free from large hills, but the southern part is very rocky and uneven. Pigeon Hill about 100 feet in height is the principal eminence. The underlying rock is sandstone, and the soil gravelly loam. Hay is the leading crop; and there is a pretty good stock of cattle kept. Pine, spruce and cedar are the chief forest trees. Most of time eastern shore is well settled, but at no point is there much of a village. There is a good brick town hail, and the public property generally is in good repair. Private buildings, also throughout the town are mostly well cared for, and some are quite tasteful and attractive. The nearest railroad station is at St. Stephens, in New Brunswick, 20 miles distant. The town is 36 miles north-east of Machias, and 20 miles from Calais. The stage-line from Eastport to Calais passes through Perry.

This was formerly Plantation No. 1. The township was purchased of Massachusetts, 1783-4 by Gen Benjamin Lincoln and others, on condition that the proprietors should place here twenty settlers within a given time, and give to each 100 acres of land. The township was full of noble woods, and for many years the principal occupation of the people was getting out timber, spars, shingles and other articles, and transporting these to St. Andrews and Robbinston, and, later, Eastport, carrying thither these products, and bringing back provisions and rum. In 1808, the plantation felt very sensibly the effect of the wars in Europe. Buonaparte had stopped the shipment of timber from the Baltic by the English, and in consequence they sought for this necessary material on the shores of Passamquoddy Bay. Fed by the trade this business brought, St. Andrews grew up very rapidly, and surrounding places obtained some share of the inflowing wealth. This was then the El Dorado of the State. One man alone got out timber in ten days that brought him $300; and it was no uncommon event for a man to come home with $500 or $1,000 in his pocket, the proceeds of the sale of his lumber. Money could be obtainel so much more easily by lumbering than by the slow returns of agricultural toil, that when the timber was gone, general poverty followed their wasteful methods. Farming, coasting and the fisheries are now the principal occupations.

At Pleasant Point, forming the south-eastern extremity of the town, is a settlement of the Passamaquoddy Indians. [See article on Indians in the first part of this volume.]

Perry was incorporated Feb. 12, 1880. Peter Goulding and Robinson Palmer are mentioned as its most esteemed citizens. One hundred and thirty-one men were sent to the Union army from this town during the war of the Rebellion; and of these 43 were lost. The Congregitionalists, Baptists and Methodist have societies here, and the two first have church edifices. The number of public schoolhouses is eleven. The school property is valued at $2,,000. The population in 1870 was 1,449. In 1830 it was 1,047. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $205,592. In 1880 it was $172,921. The rate of taxation was two per cent. in the latter year.

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