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

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

Standish is situated on the south-west side of Lake Sebago and is the most south-westerly part of Cumberland County. It contains territory, including an island and part of Lake Sebago, equal to eight miles square. Standish is bound on the north by Lake Sebago, south-east by Windham and Gorham, south by Buxton and Hollis, and west by Limington. The Saco River separates it from the towns of York County on the west. At the north-eastern extremity of the town called Standish “Neck,” is the Basin of Lake Sebago, from which issues the Presurnpscot River. The Portland and Ogdensburg railway passes through the town along the southern extremity of the lake. The stations are Sebago Lake, Richville arid Steep Falls. Much of the land is sandy plains, formerly covered with pines; yet there is considerable good farming land. The highest eminence is Oak Hill. The principal bodies of water in the town are Great and Little Watchig, Bonny Eagle, and Rich’s Mill Pond. The chief business centres are Standish Corner, Steep Falls, and the adjoining villages of South Standish and Bonny Eagle Island. Lesser points are Wescott Falls, at the Basin, and Sebago Lake, which is a railway station and a point of departure for the lake steamers and other boats. The manufactures are lumber, headings, shooks and staves, carriages, clothing, flour and meal, ice, plaster, packing-boxes, etc; each of the villages having one or more mills or factories for producing these articles.

The township which is now Standish was granted in 1750 to Capts. Humphrey Hobbs and Moses Pearson and their companies for services in the siege of Louisburg. The whole number of grantees was to be 120, sixty of whom were to settle in distinct families within three years, and sixty more within seven years. They were to give bonds to the treasurer of the province that each man should build a house sixteen feet by eighteen, with a seven foot shed, and clear up five acres of land. The settlement commenced in 1760. Rev. John Thompson, the first minister, was ordained in 1768.

The plantation was called Pearsontown. The inhabitants did not apply for incorporation until some years after it had the requisite number of inhabitants; and one day in 1783, they were almost petrified by a message from the Massachusetts House of Representatives requiring the plantation to show cause why they should not be incorporated as a town. But when the House soon after ordered an assessment of taxes upen the plantation for the last twenty years, the inhabitants responded in a appeal whose earnestness was not surpassed by the remonstrances of the colonies against the mother country. They also asked for incorporation. The appeal caused the law-makers to relent so far as to abate £571, 18s. from the sum previously ordered. The town was incorporated in 1785, and is said to have been named for that redoubtable Plymouth hero, Miles Standish. In 1806, Edward Mussey was sent to the legislature, being the first representative.

The Congregationalists, Unitarians, and Free Baptists, each have a church, and the Methodist two, in this town. Standish has thirteen public schoolhouses, valued at $5,800. The valuation of real estate in 1870 was $492,709. The population at the same date was 2,089. The census of 1880 places it at 2,037.

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