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

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

Sebec is situated in the southern part of Piscataquis county, 10 miles north-east of Dover, on the Bangor and Piscataquis railway. Williamsburg and Barnard lie on the north, Milo on the east, Foxcroft on the west and Atkinson on the south. The area is 22,228 acres. There are several small ponds in town. Sebec Lake lies partly within its limits, and the outlet furnishes two excellent water powers. The Piscataquis river forms its boundary line on the south. There are fine intervals along the streams, and many good upland farms. The principal manufacturing is on the outlet of Sebec Lake at the village. There are at this place a saw-mill producing large and small lumber, a cedar tub factory, a carriage and a woolen factory. South Sebec is the other village of the town.

The township was the eastermost of the Bowdoin College townships. In 1803, the treasurer of the college deeded 16,000 acres to Richard Pike of Newbury Port, for which he paid 70 cents per acre. In 1804, Mr. Pike sold one-sixteenth of this to Capt. Benjamin Wyatt, and soon after, David and Charles Coffin, Mary Pike and Philip Coombs bought equal shares, and became proprietors. Capt. Ezekiel Chase was the first clear settler. He had been a Revolutionary soldier, loved to roam the forest, and had become a successful hunter. He once took four hundred dollars worth of furs at a single hunt. In 1802, he selected his lot on the Piscataquis River, and felled an opening. He bought of Vaughan and Merrick of Hallowell, in whose township this point lay, being brought into Sebec by the act of incorporation. “In 1803, he raised his first crops, cut and stacked meadow hay, built a log cabin, and in September moved his family,—the second planted in the county.” The next summer (1804) a child was born to them—Charles Vaughn Chase—the first white child born in the county. Capt. Chase was a self taught physician, as well as soldier, hunter and farmer. He was also oncc honored by the Democratic party in being chosen a presidential elector. Abel Chase, a brother, was also an early settler. Among other settlers of the early period were James Lyford, Mark Trafton, Jeremiah Moulton, Peter Morrill, and W. R. Lowney, Mr. Trafton became sheriff of the county, later a military officer, and finally, a militia general. He was the father of Hon. and Rev. Mark Trafton, an eloquent and successful Methodist clergyman, and once a member of Congress. Sebec was incorporated on February 27, 1812, thus becoming the first town in the county. The warrant for the first town meeting was issued by John Whitney to Jarncs Lyford, and the meeting was held in the dwelling-house of the latter. The minister’s lot was voted to Elder Asa Burnham, a Free-will Baptist, who continued his religious labors as long as he had the strenght, dying in 1852. Dr. Francis Boynton settled on the place still known as Boyn ton’s Point, practising medicine, teaching school, and vocal and instrumental music, as opportunity offered. Some of the aged will remember his red coat on the muster field, others, the smooth tones of his clarionet in religious meetings, and others still his thorough instructions in the rude school-room. He was drowned at the rips in running a raft of boards from the mill down to his farm. This occurred in 1822, when he was in the 36th year of his age.

The first store in the place, was opened by Mr. Towle, who soon took in Solomon Parsons as his partner. J. Lamson and son opened the second store; and John and Nathaniel Bodwell, in 1823, started a hatter’s shop. Later store-keepers have been Benjamin Gilman and brother, who also engaged in lumbering; and in 1832, J. W. Jewett opened still another store, being joined in the next year by Theodore Wyman. Henry Parsons was the first lawyer to open an office in the town. Hon. John Appleton, now chief justice of Maine, opened his first office in Sebec village in 1824. Mr. Joseph Lamson, a leading business man of Sebec, in 1852, visited California and made an extensive tour of the Pacific coast. Recently he has brought out the record of his observations in a neat and interesting volume, entitled “Around Cape Horn.”

The religious organizations of this town are two Methodist societies, one Baptist and one Free Baptist. It has nine public schoolhouses, valued at $4,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $190,407. In 1880 it was $179,940. The population in 1870 was 964. In 1880 it was 876.

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