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

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

Phillips is situated near the middle of Franklin County, and is bounded by Madrid and Salem on the north, the latter and Freeman on the east, Avon and Weld on the south, and Number Six on the west. The town is about nine miles in length and five in width. The original area was 22,490 acres, but a section at the north-eastern corner was set off to form Salem in 1823. Sandy River runs south-eastward across the middle of the town. The surface of Phillips is not greatly varied with hills and valleys. French Hill, in the eastern part of the town, is broad but not a high elevation. Bald Hill, marking the western angle of Avon on the southern line of Phillips, is probably the highest eminence; its summit being nearly 800 feet above the sea. The prevailing rock is mica-schist, with some granite, and one bed of zoic limestone. The Mammoth Rock is one of the curiosities of Phillips. It is situated on Daggett’s Farm, on the side of a hill. The rock is an immense bowlder, variously estimated from 35 to 50 feet high, 100 feet through, and 200 to 300 feet around the base. The trees found in the woods are chiefly rock-maple and beech, with some poplar, spruce and hemlock. The soil on the uplands is a strong loam, but rocky. There are broad, rich intervals along Sandy River; a belt of light sandy land runs through one edge of the town. The occupation of the people is chiefly agricultural. Hay is the largest crop. The principal village is situated on Sandy River near the south line of the town. On the falls here are a saw, grist and carding-mill. The manufactures of the place consist principally of woollens, furniture, boots and shoes, carriages, harnesses, lumber, meal and flour.

A few years since, it might have been said that there were two flourishing villages in the town, between which there was a considerable rivalry. Now, however, the three-fourths of a mile which separated them is occupied by an attractive school-edifice, a costly church, a large new Public house, and neat and showy private residences, so that the traveller is unable to find any dividing line between them. The united villages should flourish more than ever now, being the terminus of the narrow gauge Sandy River Railroad, which connects with the Maine Central Road at Farmington. Around the village, too, is a larger territory naturally dependent upon it as a business centre. than about any other village in the county. Its water-power is capable of many times the development it has already attained. This village is also the headquarters of extensive lumbering operations in the Rangeley Lake region. It is already the location of a large amount of professional and business ability, and of culture and refinement. A printing press has been established here, and the energetic, newsy and spicy “Phillips Phonograpg" is regularly issued every Saturday. It is published by O. M. Moore, and is well worthy of the patronage of the best citizens of Franklin County. Another literary institution of private ownership is a circulating library of about 400 volumes.

The township of Phillips was granted by Massachussetts to Jacob Abbott, Esq., in 1794. Some improvements were made in the township as early as 1790 or 1791. Among the early settlers were Perkins Allen, Seth Greely, Jonathan Pratt, Uriah and Joseph Howard and Isaac Davenport. The plantation was first called Curvo, a name applied by Captain Perkins Allen, because of a resemblance to a port of that name which he had visited. It was incorporated in 1812, under the name of a former principal proprietor.

A natural curiosity is a huge bowider about 80 feet in diameter. Another is the nearly dry bed of a pond in the upland, and the gorge through which its unloosed waters ploughed their way toward Sandy River. This action arose from the insertion of a plank flume, with bulkhead and gate, for the purpose of increasing the power for the grist mill of the Messrs. Noves on a neighboring stream. A slight leak increased, so that the flume was pressed out, when the whole contents of the stream swept down the incline, ploughing up the soil, moving great rocks, sweeping away the buildings of a Mr. Shephard, the mill and every vestige of the improvements which had beeii made at such cost.

There are two church-edifices in Phillips, one of which belongs to the Methodists, while the other is a Union church. The town has fifteen public school-houses; which, with other school property, are estimated to be worth $4,000. The estates in 1870 were valued at $375,576. In 1880 the valuation was $447,905. The rate of taxation in the latter year was fifteen mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,373. in 1880 it was 1,437.

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