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

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

Webster is situated in the south-eastern side of Androscoggin County, and joins Lewiston on the west. Lisbon bounds it on the south, Bowdoin on the east, and Wales and Litchfield on the north. The town is nearly square, and has an area of about 12,000 acres. A portion of Sabattus Pond lies in its northern part, and its outlet bearing the same name runs through the western part of the town. This stream has several falls within the limits of the town, which are improved as water-powers. At Sabattusville near the pond are two woollen-factories, an excelsior-mill, and two lumber-mills. The first mill at this point appears to have been the saw and grist mill built by Robert H. Niles and Robert Ross above eighty years ago. These were rebuilt in 1844, by Messrs. Lombard and Watts.

Sabattusville is the only village, except a small cluster of houses at Webster Post-Office, in the southern part of the town. The Androscoggin division of the Maine Central Railroad runs through Sabattusville and along the pond at the north-western angle of the town. The surface of the country is much varied by hills and valleys, but there are no lofty eminences. Robinson and Hedgehog “mountains” and Pettengill, Jordan and Oak hills are the chief of these. The last, continuing southward, takes the name of Lisbon Ridge. At the centre of the towu is Sutherland’s Pond; a mile north-east is Loon Pond, followed in range by Curtis Bog. Ross Brook, drawing its supplies principally from these ponds, is the principal tributary of the Sabattus River. About half a mile south of Sabattus Pond, in a hollow in a high plateau or broad “horse-hack” is a small body of clear water which has no apparent outlet; but the nature of the soil of the plateau in large part sand and coarse gravel and the swamp at a lower altitude than the pond, and yet higher than the neighboring Sabattus Pond, show the manner of the water escape. In the days of superstitious mysteries and geological, ignorance this quiet little sheet of water bore the discreditable name of “The Devil’s Washbowl.”

The land-titles in town are from the Plymouth Proprietors. Webster was originally a part of the town of Bowdoin, but was included in the territory separated and incorporated as Thompsonborough, afterward re-named Lisbon. This territory was divided in 1840, and the northern portion incorporated as the town of Webster. The first settler was Robert Ross, who came from Brunswick, and located on the brook that bears his name, in 1774. Timothy Weymouth moved in soon after, and built the first mill in town for Jesse Davies. The first justice of the peace was Samuel Tebbetts, and the next was Noah Jordan. The first resident physician was Dr. Ithamar Bellows; the first lawyer who remained permanently was Jacob Hill, a graduate of Brown University, and sometime editor of the Portland Advertiser. Benjamin Burgess, another resident, was a major-general in the militia, and subsequently sheriff of Lincoln County. Hon. Freeman H. Morse, sometime member of Congress from the second district, and later United States consul at London, was a native of Webster. At the close of the Revolutionary war, a number of the soldiers settled in Webster, of whom were Alexander Gray, Abel Nutting, Aaron Dwinel, Paul Nowell, Simeon Ricker, Foster Wentworth, Elias Stover, Phineas Spofford, Jesse Davies, Captain James Curtis and Samuel Simmons. The latter was one of the first school teachers in town, and was the ancestor of Frank Simmons, the sculptor, who is a native of Webster. In the war of the Rebellion the town furnished its full quotas under all the calls.

The first religious society formed in Webster was of the Baptist persuasion and arose from the labors of Rev. Ichabod Temple, of Bowdoin. Their church was built upon the elevated land in the north-western part of the town. The first minister settled over it was Rev. Mr. Booper. Their new house is at Sabattusville. The Free Baptists built their church in 1840; the bell being a gift from Captain Luther L. Lombard. These, together with a church at the southern border of the town built by Baptists and Universalists, constitute th present visible fortifications of the town against the hosts of Satan.

Webster has eleven public schoolhouses, valued at $2,400. The valuation in 1870 was $406,434. In 1880 it was $445,353. The population in 1870 was 939. In 1880 it was 980.

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