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

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

Peru lies on the south side of the Androscoggin in the eastern part of Oxford County. On the north, separated by the Androscoggin, are Mexico and Dixfield; on the east is Canton; on the south, Hartford and Sumner; on the west, Franklin and Rumford. Worthley Pond, 3 miles in length by half a mile in width, lies in the southern part of the town, and two small ponds in the south-west are the source of the east branch of Twenty-Mile River. Near the middle of the town is a group of live large hills, of which the most notable are Poland Mountain and Tumble Down Dick, perhaps 1,000 feet in height. On the soathern line is Ricker Mountain, with Stockwell Hill in the northern part. The rock is granite, and the soil a dark loam. The latter is quite free from stones, and ploughed fields are often found even to the top of the hills. Hay is the largest crop, and niuch attention is given to sheep raising and hop growing. The town has five lumbermills, manufacturing long and short lumber, wooden bowls, etc. There are also found the other small manufactures common in rural-towns. The buildings generally throughout the town are in good repair, and the inhabitants seem thrifty. The nearest railroad connection is at Canton, 8 miles down the river from the centre of the town.

The nucleus of this town was a grant of two miles square, made by Massachusetts, to Merrill Knight, Daniel Lunt, William Brackett and a Mr. Bradish of Falmouth. Mr. Knight was the first settler, coming in with his family in 1793. William Walker, Osborn Trask, and Brady Bailey, also of Falmouth, soon followed. Subsequently, the remainder of the township was granted or sold in tracts to E. Fox, Lunt, Thompson and Peck. The settlement was organized as a plantation in 1812, and incorporated in 1821.

Samuel R. Thurston, the first delegate from Oregon Territory to Congress, was a native of this town. Timothy Ludden, Jonas Greene, Sumner R. Newell, Benjamin Lovejoy and James H. Withington were also esteemed citizens or natives. There is one person living in town above 90 years of ago, one about 88. two about 79, and ten that are 75 and upwards. Peru sent 108 men into the army of the Union during the war of the Rebellion, and 30 were killed or had died by sickness prior to Nov. 8th, 1865. There is a very good church edifice in the town, and societies of Baptists, Methodists and Universalists. Two high schools are sustained during a portion of the year. There are eleven public schoolhouses, and the school property has a value of $6,000. The population in 1870 was 931. In 1880 it was 825. The valuation in 1870 was $272,864. In 1880 it was $247,160. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 16 mills on the dollar.

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