New Portland 1902 Register - General Information
by H.E. Mitchell
[Transcribed by Dave Swerdfeger]
ERRATA. In Incidents of Early Times David Hutchins Jr. should read David Hutchins; in Interesting Facts Lower Stream should read Lemon Stream; in the Census the following should be starred: Dollie Atwood, Willie Day, Walter P. Gifford, Mrs. Washinton Gould, Mrs. Nathan Jackson, Mrs. Samuel Kilkenny, Mrs. Wm. Page, Mrs A. S. Parsons, Mrs. Warren Sweatt, Sullivan Williamson; and the following should be marked with the (+), --Joseph Hutchins, James Butler, Elvira Sweatt and Eben Sweatt.
Attention is called to the fact that inconsistencies have occurred in the data given the writer for the census. Much effort has been made to correct them, but it is not to be expected that all have been rectified.
Acknowledgment is hereby made of the many helpful suggestions and necessary facts freely given by the citizens of the town. Especial mention is made of the assistance tendered by Elias Hutchins, Mrs. Asaph Hutchins and Hon. Abel Davis.
The writer in preparing the following pages has not aimed at completeness--rather to brevity--in the preparation of this pamphlet, and hopes that its contents may he a source of interest and assistance to those interested in the town of New Portland.
The town of New Portland is located in Somerset county, State of Maine. It is bounded on the north by Kingfield and Lexington, on the east by Embden, on the south it joins Anson and New Vineyard, and on the west it is bounded by Freeman.
The west line and also a part of the south line of New Portland is the county line between Franklin and Somerset.
The middle point of New Portland is about 5 minutes south of the 45th paralel of north latitude. The 70th meridian of longitude, east of Greenwich, passes through the village of North New Portland.
The natural features of New Portland should not be overlooked. Located only a short distance to the east of the principal range of mountains of Maine, and in full view of three of the six highest mountains of the state, viz: Mt. Bigelow, Mt. Abraham and Mt. Saddleback, it is, as would be expected, somewhat hilly. Its soil is of clay and sandy loam and is most excellent for agricultural purposes.
There are many excellent interval farms. It can be truly said that New Portland is one of the very best farming towns in Somerset county. No lakes are found in the town. There is one small pond of some 50 acres extent. One small mountain is present. Of the several hills, Everett hill, about one mile south-east of West village, is the highest. From this elevation on a clear day the White mountains of New Hampshire are plainly visible, and front this hill and the several others in town, a varied and extensive scenery that is hard to excel is unfolded to the eye
While New Portland is essentially an agricultural town this is not its only characteristic. Its waterpower, though not so extensive as is found in other parts of the county, furnishes many desirable plants, and should be utilized to a greater extent than is being done at present. One particular feature of New Portland's water system is found at the "Falls," so called, (East New Portland).
At this point the Carrabassett furnishes one of the best smaller stream powers to be found in the county, though it is utilized only in part at present. It is owned and operated by A. W. Starbird. The dam now in use is not so designed as to make use of any considerable part of the power; though at extreme low water it will furnish at least 150 horsepower, and in spring and fall its power is practically unlimited. A new dam is contemplated. A good opportunity is offered here for some manufacturing concern to utilize the undeveloped power.
At the West and North villages are not found so good facilities for development, yet the waterpower is sufficient to supply all needs and is as yet not entirely developed. There are three grist mills in town. One is operated by Moses Mitchell at West village, one at East New Portland run by A. W. Starbird, and the third is at North New Portland and is operated by D. H. Knowles.
The three saw mills run by waterpower are as follows: at the "Great Works" by D. M. Butler, at the Falls by A. W. Starbird, and at North New Portland by H. A. Plummer and Benj. F. Bartlett. At the West village on Lemon stream is found a good power utilized by John Metcalf in running his shoe shop. W. W. Jordan runs a carding and novelty mill, utilizing a good power located about 40 rods above the shoe shop and tannery above mentioned.
Much more might be done with the waters of the Carrabassett and Lemon stream by parties having the necessary enterprise to attach them to the wheel. It is hoped that circumstances may develop in coining years to bring about this result. While it has not a monopoly of those natural features which in this day of industrial development are so important New Portland is nevertheless well favored.
Its excellent scenery, its healthful climate, its fertile fields, its excellent pastures, wooded hills and its good water privileges not only make it a good place to go from but make it a good place to continue to and live in.
New Portland was first settled in March, 1783, by David Hutchins of Alna, Me., he having moved there a short time previously from Chelmsford, Mass. Mr. Hutchins elected the first log cabin in town in 1783, at a point about forty rods east of the present residence of Mrs. Asaph Hutchins and her son-in-law, Mr. Chas. H. Nye.
Our informant tells us that Mr. Hutchins and his family were considerably concerned about what they should do with that part of their goods which they must leave behind till after their return from their first journey to their new home. A friendly (?) Indian suggested that their best course was to bury them. Accepting this as a solution of the problem they so acted.
On their return the goods in question, which were of so much value to the brave settlers, and upon which depended so much of the success of this family in its effort to penetrate the 36 square miles of forest, now transformed in New Portland, were gone. Little doubt was entertained as to who was responsible for the loss. This however was only an incident in the experience of this nobleman of nature whose perseverance, uprightness of character and excellent judgment made for him success in an effort fraught with the greatest danger and hardship.
The second settler was Capt. Josiah Parker, a Revolutionary soldier, who came to this region soon after his discharge from the army. He lived for more than sixty years ou the farm now owned by Hiram F. Weymouth, though we are told that a man named Wilson "took up" the farm. Capt. Parker was the owner of the first plow, the first harrow, and the first set of joiners' tools in town, and was also the owner of the first brick kiln. He married Betsey Walker on Feb. 19, 1789. This was the first marriage occurring among the settlers. Capt. Parker was a highly respected citizen. He died at the age of 93 years. Eben Richardson was the next settler, who came the same year as Capt. Parker, and settled on the James Butler place.
He too was a soldier of the Revolution and was with Arnold in his expedition through Maine to Quebec. The next settler was Nimrod Hinds. John Churchill came in 1787 and located on the farm now owned by John Knowlton. Eben Carsley came next in 1788 and settled on the William Walker farm.
In 1789 Zepheniah Williams settled on the farm now occupied by Eben J. Walker. He stayed only a short time selling to Solomon Walker. Samuel Gould came in 1789 and located where Andrew J. Davis now lives. John Taylor came in 1789 and started on the R. G. Dennis farm. Mr. Taylor built a log cabin on the interval near the Carrabassett.
In 1792 William Churchill came and settled on the Eli Hutchins place. In 1795 many settlers came and the increased numbers meant much for the town. Among the names of the new comers of this date are John Batchelder, Elder John Locke, Caleb Boynton, Peter Norton, Paul Pratt, Capt. Benj. Noyes, and others. In 1797 Ruben Hill came to New Portland.
In the same year Robt. York settled on what was formerly called Hodsdon hill, now known as Bray hill. Reuben Rand settled on the Cutts farm in 1798. He soon sold to Aaron Allen. Moses Safford came in 1798 and started on the Jones farm. In 1800 John Dennis bought and moved onto the Frank Caswell farm. Josiah Everett settled on the Enos Hutchins place the same year.
He was also a Revolutionary soldier and sailor as well. He was twice made prisoner and was held a captive on the British prison ships. We have endeavored to give an account of the early settlers down to about 1800. However we do not claim absolute accuracy in the matter as the records will not permit, but hope that the reader may obtain some idea of the founders of our town from the reading of the above.
About 1800 many new arrivals are recorded. Among the same are found the prominent ones of Elliott, Hamlin and Hanson. John Elliott, one of this number, started the place called the Great Works. One of our former townsmen writes of him: "He was a great mill builder and was always looking for mill priviliges. His wife overhearing a discussion about there being land and water on the moon's surface said excitedly, 'Oh, do not tell Mr. Elliott for he will go there and get a mill-site."
Soon after the arrival of the Elliots, Hamlins and Hansons came the Waltons, Flings, Dyers, Drummonds, Sawyers and many others. The settlement now so thoroughly begun could not be stayed. Rapidly the clearings appeared. At first a small spot about the "Falls" and a narrow tract in the southern part of the town constituted the settled portion.
However about the time of the arrival of the last named settlers, cabins arose and clearings appeared along the line of the road on the north side of the Carrabassett, and before this time, as we have seen, some effort had been made to settle the western part. The north part of the town was settled at a later date, just what year the records, so far as the writer has been able to learn, do not state.
The settlements in most cases were permanent ones. Gradually the forest succumbed to the hand of the pioneer, and out of the thirty-six square miles of wilderness came the town of New Portland --the gift of progress.
For nearly forty years after the settlement of New Portland the State of Massachusetts owned the territory of this state, which was known till 1820 as the District of Maine; and the General Court of Massachusetts had general supervision of the affairs of the District.
On the ninth of March, 1791, by act of the General Court of Massachusetts a grant of two townships, No. 2 and No. 3, north of the Plymouth Company's lands and west of the Kennebec River, was made on petition of "Enoch Ilsley and others" sufferers of Falmouth ( now Portland). For more than a decade nothing was done toward organization.
However in 1804 we find that an attempt was made to form a political government. In Dec.ember of the year 1804 the plantation of East Portland was organized. The first meeting was held at the dwelling house of Capt. Josiah Parker on the seventh of Dec.ember, 1804.
At that meeting the following officers were chosen: Moderator, Josiah Parker; Clerk, Henry Norton; Assessors, Henry Norton, Samuel Gould, and. Josiah Everett; Collector Gersham Hamblin. The next meeting was held at the residence of Henry Norton on Mar. 4, 1805. On Mar. 11, 1805, the inhabitants of this plantation made petition to the General Court of Massachusetts for incorporation in the following terms.
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General Court assembled:
Your Petitioners, inhabitants of Plantation No. 2, in Range Second West of Kennebec River, commonly called East Portland, humbly sheweth---That we labour under material disadvantages in our present Uunincorporated State, by being Subject to Taxation without the benefit of Taxing Non Resident Land for the purpose of Supporting Roads, as the Roads are extremely bad and no legal method by which they may be amended in an equal proportion.
Likewise the necessity and real want of a Legal appropriation for the use of Schools, with many other considerations too numerous to mention, have Induced us to prefer this petition, praying that we with the Said Town & its inhabitants therein may be Incorporated Into a Town by the Name of New Portland, with all the privileges & authority of all other Incorporated Towns & as in duty bound will ever pray.
Signed at East Portland this 11th of March, 1805.
Henry Norton, David Hutchins, Andrew Ellet, Sam'l Gould, John Churchel, John Dennis, Robert York, Reuben Rand, Samuel Richardson, Josiah Parker, Peter Norton, Clement Hayden, Gersham Hamlin, James Hutchins, John W. Ellet, Josiah Carsley, William Churchel, Josiah Everett, Clark Whittier, Benj. Burnel, Samuel Fling, Ward Spooner, Solomon Walker, Reuben Hill, Samuel Moore, Levi Gorden.
It is learned that an act of incorporation passed the General Court on March 5, 1808. The act bears the signatures of Perry Morton, Speaker of the House, and Samuel Davis, President of the Senate. It was signed Mar. 9, 1808, by Hon. Jas. Sullivan, Governor of Massachusetts. The first warrant for a town meeting was posted on Apr.il 5, 1808; and the meeting was held at the residence of Clark Whittier on Apr.il 20, 1808. The officers elected were as follows: Moderator, Jerimiah Hilton; Clerk, Henry Norton; Selectmen and Assessors, Aaron Allen, Samuel Gould, and James Hutchins; Treasurer, Josiah Parker; Collector and Constable, Clark Whittier.
From the time of the above mentioned transactions down to the present the usual events in the progress of towns located in a similar way followed in the career of New Portland. A few years after the incorporation in 1808 came a period of intense hardship and suffering of which mention is made elsewhere. In about 1812-16 there was a great reduction in the population, large bodies of citizens going west. But after the return of plentiful crops in 1816 hopes of the settlers began to revive and soon prosperity followed. Year by year developments were made, the population increased, the lands were improved more and more. Trade of all kinds was built up, schools were instituted, churches were built, justice was maintained, and the general welfare of the people was provided for after the mariner of the times in which they lived.
Steadily in times of peace and of war the town moved along its quiet path, always furnishing its full share of men for the councils of war and of peace. Of its excellent millitary record mention is made elsewhere.
Her various industries which were built up from year to year varied according to the demands of the times. Much attention was given at times to wool raising, and at other periods stock raising was one of the chief industries. But at all times the town has depended upon her agricultural facilities and they have never failed her. Her population is industrious and well-to-do. Her property is of a fairly good value. Her tax rate is low, paupers are almost unknown, and legal controversies are not a part of her record. In common with other towns New Portland suffered severely in the time of the Civil War and some time was required for recovery; but the prosperous business years following the civil strife gradually restored her to prosperity. For many years business was excellent and some of the most prosperous years in the history of the town came in the fifteen or twenty years after the war. Prices were high; the demand for goods was large and there was in no branch of business a surplus product.
Mills were in operation, the farms were cultivated and trade was at a high pitch. Though there was not a hamlet in the country, from one extremity to the other but had felt the ravages of war, the country was prosperous, the people active. In 1876 a very severe fire visited the West Village; but new structures soon arose and the village resumed its role of trade and manufacture.
On July 4, 1883, occurred an event of interest. It was the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the town. It was held at the residence of Asaph Hutchins and was participated in by a large gathering of people. The president of the day was W. H. Stevens. Capt. Zenas Vaughan was marshal, Rev. Leonard Hutchins offered the prayer, Samuel V. Spear was toastmaster, Hon. Abel Davis, a former resident of New Portland, now of Pittsfield, delivered the oration, which was a very able effort. Mr. Davis was listened to with rapt attention, as an incident cited by one present at the time will show. During the delivery of the oration by Mr. Davis a shower gathered and broke upon the assemblage. One aged citizen occupying a seat on the stand arose and held an umbrella over the head of the speaker till he had closed. In spite of the heavy downpour of rain hardly a person left the audience till Mr. Davis ceased speaking.
It was a gathering on the scenes of the labors of the first settler, made historic by his sturdy and persistent struggle against climate, famine and wild beasts, and was a day of intense enjoyment, full of significance for all.
NEW PORTLAND REGISTER
The twenty years which followed this event have not been years of unmixed prosperity for New Portland. Certain developments in Somerset and Franklin counties are responsible for the change. In 1883 consideration of the location of the proposed railroad from Farmington was taken up. After many protracted meetings in which much was said for the railroad and, strange to say, much was said against it by some of the townspeople, circumstances developed which deprived us of the advantages accruing from railroad connection with the outside world.
How far this misfortune may be responsible for the changes occurring since that time is hard to estimate, but that it deprived us of many opportunities for development cannot be denied. It is hoped that the coming years have something in store for the town to repair in part at least the damage caused by the iron road going around us.
The last decade has few events not already mentioned that are of interest. The disastrous fire at No. New Portland which is mentioned later was a blow to the town, but one from which it quickly recovered. But otherwise only the ordinary events have occurred. And now at the close of these few lines in which we have briefly surveyed the history of our town what shall we say of New Portland!
We are proud to be her citizens, jealous of her interests, mindful of her fair name and ever desirous of her prosperity.
New Portland's part in military matters is one of which she can be justly proud. No town of her size has responded more loyally nor done more efficient service. The men who made up her quotas were men of soldierly qualities and never failed to do their whole duty when the opportunity was presented. The closing scenes of the Revolutionary War were being enacted while New Portland was yet a wilderness, yet many men who served in that struggle became a part of the population of New Portland and so identified with her interests that we claim the honor of their services.
Many of this number are mentioned elsewhere. In the War of 1812 and in the Mexican War, New Portland was well represented. In the Civil War which drew the most blood and which was fraught with the gravest consequences of all our wars, New Portland never faltered in the discharge of her whole duty. We venture to say that few towns of her size did more in that momentous struggle that did New Portland. Her record is an honor to the town. The following is a list of the men engaged, corrected as carefully as circumstances will permit:
Samuel Berry Jr., Thomas P. Williams, Zenas Vaughan, Benj. B. Kilkenny, Frank L. Emery, Benj. F. Thompson, Ai Clapp, Simeon Tripp, Isaac H. Butts, Isaac A. Pennell, Aratus West, Benj. Carvill, Harrison Warren, John W. Walker, Clement C. Williams, Haniff Rowell, John F. Thompson, Wm. H. Thompson, Ivory C. Hanson, Parke B. Batchelder, Daniel H. Knowles, Geo. M. Churchill, Daniel Maguire, Wm. L. Fuller, Benj. Cowan, Frank Ferrin, Ezra Getchell, Orlando G. Hutchins, Eben Jones, Norris Savage, Orlando Quint, Jas. F. Williams,
Ezra Winslow Jr., Jas. Emery, Franklin B. Rumen, Melvin E. Lovejoy, Alva Elder, Jerimiah Thompson, Geo. A. Perkins, Geo. Bartlett, John Young, Jacob Sweatt, Benj. Gilbert, Franklin Jordan, Holder F. Butts, Chas. T. Whitten, A. W. Hutchins, Geo. W. Anderson, Abel Davis, Leonard Hutchins, Milton Young, Isaac B. Spear, Stinson C. Paine, Ephraim Stetson, Jas. W. Vaughan, Peter B. Money, H. D. Jackson, Erie M. Wyman, Geo. W. Mills, Edward Sawyer, Daniel Strickland, Wilder Pratt, Benj. Palmer, Allen Kelley, Francis Ferguson, Benj. Ball,
Amos G. Wethern, Isaac W. Jackson, Jas. McKenney, Enos Hutchins, Fred E. Hutchins, David W. Jewett, Lorenzo Cowan, Chas. B. Knapp, Aaron Mar.den, Josiah W. Newell, Asa V. Douglass, Alainander Young, Ira H. Goodrich, Thomas Hutchins, Edwin B. Hill, Newell H. Cushman, Jas. Westwood, Owen Knapp, Jas. W. Thompson, Moses Thompson, Henry W. Carvill, Horatio Fuller, George Gale, Albert Murch, Alvin L. Reed, O. J. Getchell, Geo. C. Goodhue, Henry W. Abbott, Chas. L. Davis, Richard Delling Jr., Joshua Sweatt, Jas. Stewart, Victor St. Lewis, Pierre Laboigne, Frank E. Hutchins, Wm. J. Stephenson, John Dunn, Jas. F. Wilbur, Chas. Lishon.
Every year the number of the living in the list above given grows smaller and soon the last of the group will have gone from among us, but their laurels won for themselves and the town will not perish.
LEMON STREAM LODGE, I.O.O.F.
One of the objects of interest in New Portland is Lemon Stream Lodge,start I.O.O.F., No. 55. It was instituted in the year 1848, five years after the beginning of Odd Fellowship in Maine. The following were the first officers: Noble Grand, Abram P. Spooner; Vice Grand, Simeon C. Hanson; Recording Secretary, Nathaniel E. Wright; Treasurer, Lemont Spooner; Permanent Secretary, Geo. A. Fletcher. From 1848 the lodge gained steadily for some years in membership and finance.
The first home of the lodge was in the hall over Gould & Spooner's store, and this continued to be its meeting place until 1876. During that severe trial for Odd Fellowship in Maine from 1850 till after the close of the Southern struggle many lodges in the state gave up their charters. Not so with Lemon Stream Lodge. It struggled against every hardship till 1869 when it was reduced to twelve members, the "Old Guard." This number kept up its organization and carried it through to the times of prosperity, which were not far hence.
Though badly crippled by the fire of 1876, it has never faltered since the times before the`"70s" and is now most favorably situated. It owns two well fitted, good styled buildings at New Portland, and has a good sized sum laid by for future use.
The following is a table showing expenditures from its organization to 1897:
For good work done in the community by this institution much praise is due. The present officers are as follows: Noble Grand, Chauncey Dyer; Vice Grand, Jonathan Luce; Secretary, Nathan C. Burbank; Financial Sec., John G. True; Treasurer, Wallace A. Hall.
INCIDENTS OF EARLY TIMES.
To some of our citizens the story of hardship and privation traced by the pioneers of our town is a familiar one; but every year the number of those thus familiar is growing smaller. Soon that story will seem in our ears only "a dream in the far distant past," and may be forgotten by the coining generation.
It therefore seems but appropriate at this point to make note of some few incidents which show the character of the early settler himself and the nature of the times in which he lived.
Soon after the organization of the town in 1808 scarcity of crops caused great suffering. It is said by one that the greatest scarcity was before the maturity of crops in 1816. Four days' work was given by the laboring classes for a bushel of wheat. In this same year as high as $1.00 was paid for a peck of seed corn.
Caleb Stevens went from Kingfield to Waterville and gave four days' work for a bushel of corn, and brought it all the way from Waterville to his home on his shoulders, to keep his children from starving. Six to nine dollars a month was the highest wage paid the best of men.
Girls were glad to work out for fifty cents a week. Money was hardly ever seen. Labor was in almost no demand. This was indeed a period when the settler found that the path of the pioneer is a hard one. To come into the forest, take up a farm and establish himself and family upon it was an undertaking of no small proportions.
Deacon John Butts walked all the way from Haverhill, Mass., to this region in 1813, a distance of three hundred miles, in six consecutive days. This seems almost incredible, yet it is vouched for most thoroughly. For these men of sound physique and iron will it was a common thing to travel five or six miles to their day's work, and carry home at night two bushels of corn, wheat or meal, upon their shoulders.
The labor that those men performed in those days seems to us in this period of invention and labor-saving appliances to border on the impossible. But with the facts before us we can only say that they were men and women born for the special purposes of the times in which they lived, and ably and well did they do their work.
While the Indians were on the whole friendly to the settlers, the animals were many and fierce, and the settler had to contend with them a great deal. Though wolves and small animals were present the bears were the most troublesome. Sheep were an especial prey to these animals, yet a previous writer tells us that in 1803 a four-year-old steer, belonging to Mr. Benj. Burnal was caught and killed by a hear.
One incident in which Bruin was concerned serves to show the spirit of our pioneer mothers, Mrs. Cynthia Hutchins, the daughter of Josiah Parker, and the first white female child born in New Portland, in company with her children made a friendly call at the McLaughlin place about one-half mile from the East New Portland postoffice. Having accomplished part of their return Mrs. Hutchins became aware of the presence of a bear following them closely. In an unconcerned manner she told her children to make all speed for the cabin. They, accustomed to obey, did as they were bidden, though utterly ignorant of the reason for the command. The courageous mother seized a cudgel which lay by the path and kept between her children and the beast and kept him at bay. The bear loitered about the clearing that night and wrought havoc in the sheep-fold, but the presence of mind of the fearless woman saved her children from the jaws of their pursuer. Many incidents of a similar nature, too numerous to mention, are recorded, and all serve to impress upon oar minds the bravery and daring of those who prepared this region for the developments of the later years.
And while we are citing incidents which show the noble and fearless nature of the people of those days we must not forget that they were human "like as we are" today, and that, as a previous writer well says: "People were not all good then any more than they are now." We give herewith an incident told by the same writer, quoting in full. "One William Quint 'squatted' on the Millay hill. Mr. Millay claimed to own the land and ordered Quint off. Quint refused to go.
One day when Quint was away from home Millay came and ordered his wife out of the house. Mrs. Quint was thoroughly charged with the belligerent spirit of her husband and refused, shut the door and fastened it. Millay soon climbed the castle of logs and began a warfare by throwing cartridges down the chimney into the fire which exploded to the great terror of the children. He then called out to Mrs. Quint, asking her if she would leave. She replied no, without parley.
Down came more cartridges, up went the cries of the frightened children; down came a second demand of surrender, up went the defiant refusal. He next tried to descend the "Catstick" chimney, but he had only got part way down when the warlike woman emptied her straw bed upon the fire. He scrabbled and crawled out for "dear life," but not before he became nearly smothered with smoke and so badly singed that he made the woods ring with his howls of pain. It is not probable that he undertook again the ungallant act of turning a woman out of doors."
No accounts of depredations by Indians are recorded though many Indians were found in the early days of the town. Nearly all were friendly to the whites. However, as might be expected, some few incidents are recorded where little episodes took place showing the characteristics of the Red Man in his lawful home and of the sturdy and fearless settler in the wilderness. As is well known on the arrival of David Hutchins, in 1783, a branch of the Norridgewocks was installed near the banks of the Carrabassett, on the Interval now owned by Hiram F. Weymouth. Their chief was Piepole so well and favorably known in the region of the Carrabassett and Sandy rivers. This band was on the whole very friendly to the settlers. On one occasion according to one of our older citizens even Pierpole exhibited one of the traits of the Red Man as we are accustomed to think of him.
In a 'trade" between Pierple and David Hutchins Jr. the latter was to tender the former a peck of potatoes. In the cabin of Pierpole were assembled David Hutchins Jr., Samuel Hutchins, Pierpole, his squaw, Hannah Sussup Pierpole and others. The chief made a request for delivery of the produce, the same having been delivered once. Mr. Hutchins replied that he had delivered the goods. Pierpole denied it in emphatic terms. The squaw apparently fearful of the result of the dispute, by a sign to Mr. Hutchins intimated that he would find the potatoes under the "forestick." Mr. Hutchins quickly siezed the "poking-stick" and scattard the potatoes on the mud floor of the cabin. Aroused by this exposure of his treachery the lusty savage rushed upon Mr. Hutchins. But the latter, a fine example of the pioneer, towering in strength, being almost a giant in size, and as fearless as he was strong, quickly raised the trusty "poker" and in stern tones of command ordered the chieftain to advance not another step under peril of his life. The chief wisely concluded to obey; and undoubtedly upon recovery of his calmer self heartily regretted this outburst of treachery and rage.
Pierpole is said to have taken up his abode in the town of Strong on the banks of the Sandy River, about the close of the 18th century. In general he was trusted by the settlers and had many transactions with them, usually acquitting himself with honor; but his Squaw, Hannah Sussup, was ever jealous of the advance of the whites, and always suspicious of their motives. She constantly urged Captain Pierpole to leave the scene of the relentless efforts of the pioneer. No account of his last days is on record. Tradition has it that he was last seen in this region one evening drifting down the Sandy River in a bark canoe.
These few incidents and the many others that have come down to us from the past portray something of the character of the sturdy pioneer of the town of New Portland. As a previous writer says: "They took nature for a guide. They lived with nature and their character was formed to imitate it. The woods was their home, and who can live in the grand old forests of Maine without having instilled into them the grand ideas, the grand and majestic principles by which our ancestors were actuated and guided.
Their work shall prove them, and long after they are dead and gone from among us, and shall have been forgotten, their lives, dedicated to the work which they did, and stamped with an individual stamp, which can never be erased, shall ever continue to hear fruit. The effect of a good deed once done, of a heroic action once performed, can never he erased. So the example of their lives will continue to he felt till this town and county shall have been swept into oblivion."
A list of town officers since 1860 is given herewith. Effort was made to procure the names of town officers from date of the organization of the town down to the present, but the records of the town meetings containing these names prior to 1860, are not to be found. The following is the list:
A BRIEF SURVEY OF THE PRESENT.
The village of New Portland, commonly called West New Portland, is located on Lemon stream about three-fourths of a mile from its junction with the Carrabassett. It is sixteen miles north of Farmington and is about twelve miles northwest of North Anson.
The village is pleasantly located on the banks of the above mentioned stream, and between two hills locally known as Clark hill and Bennett hill. The gristmill at this place is operated by Moses Mitchell. W. W. Jordan runs a carding and novelty mill at this place, making use of another good water privilege. A short distance below the gristmill is located the shoe shop owned by John Metcalf.
The last named industry was previously run, with a tannery connected, by H. Clark & Co. It was for many years a leading industry in the town, giving steady and lucrative employment to about twenty workmen. Owing to changing conditions in the boot and shoe world within a few years the company was gradually forced to suspend operations.
The shoe shop, run a part of the time by John Metcalf, is still manufacturing the well known riveted moccasin of which this firm has sole right of manufacture in the United States.
On Lemon Stream, about one mile and one-half above the "West" is found the sawmill of David M. Butler. This mill occupies almost the same site where John Elliott built a mill soon after his arrival in New Portland from Turner in 1803.
Mr. Butler does considerable business in long and short lumber, shingles, etc. About two miles west of the village J. Chick & Sons operate a steam sawmill and have built up a good business in the past few years.
Though New Portland is not what it was a quarter of a century ago it still has a large trade, drawing it from a large surrounding area of excellent agricultural territory.
Sumner W. Elliott occupies the two stores formerly occupied by John Metcalf and Nathan Saunders, and is doing a large business in general merchandise. He commenced doing business in the '80's and in the subsequent years has won a host of friends and patrons by his genialty and fair dealing.
Directly across the street in the large and commodious store, occupied for many years by W. Ricker & Sons, Christopher C. Hoyt is doing a good and increasing business in general merchandise.
Mrs. Hoyt runs a popular millinery in connection with the store. The business was opened in 1899 and is under the personal direction of Charles E. Hoyt, the son of the proprietor. The rapidly increasing trade is sufficient proof of the good standing and popularity of the concern.
During the past few years John Metcalf has conducted a good trade in the undertaker's line.
Royal D. Blaisdell is proprietor of the Hotel Blaisdell, a house well known to the traveling public.
The village of North New Portland, about twenty miles north-west of Skowhegan, and six miles north-east of West New Portland village, is located on what is known as Gilman Stream, about two miles from its junction with the Carrabassett. This stream rises in Lexington and furnishes a good waterpower for North New Portland, which is utilized in part at this time by the following: Bartlett & Plummer's sawmill which was built upon a site that has been occupied nearly ever since the settlement of the village; the birch novelty mill run by Chas. H. Bartlett, and D. H. Knowles' gristmill.
Bartlett & Plummer's mill turns out large quantities of long and short lumber for a ready market. The birch novelty mill has been in operation many years and is doing a rapidly increasing business. It furnishes employment to a large number of hands and gives a ready market for the birch timber of the surrounding country.
During the past few years H. W. Kennerson, the popular tailor of this village, has been manufacturing a patented Garment Hanger of his own invention. Many of the articles have been sold throughout the eastern part of the country thus asserting the good quality of the article.
Being in the path of trade with the Dead River region, in which so much has been done in the lumber industry, this village has not suffered from the changes that have been made in Franklin and Somerset counties in the last quarter of a century, so much as has the West Village.
It has been the headquarters of many prominent business men and has been a trade center in this section of Somerset County for many years. In Nov., 1890, the village was visited by a very severe fire in which a large part of the business portion was destroyed. However, new and better buildings have been erected on the sites of the old ones and the town has gradually recovered from its loss.
Among the new places of business that have come up are the following:
The large and modern store of Chas. H. Clark & Sons, a firm well and favorably known, doing a large business covering a large area; the Dirigo block, occupied by Everett Quint, the proprietor of the Dingo House, a hotel popularly known to the travelling public, and by Elmer Qaint, grocery and general stores; and D. H. Knowles' modern store in which a general merchandise business in done.
Among the losses from the fire most keenly felt was that of Columbian Hall, an excellent public building.
In 1900 definite plans were formed for the erection of a building to take its place. A stock company was formed with a capital of about $5,000, and a large and commodious structure was built, furnishing a much needed improvement to the village and adding much to its good appearance.
Among the new places of business opened in the village in recent years is that of Ora Henderson, dealer in confectionery, cigars, bicycles, firearms and sundries, and A. B. Sargent, groceries, meats, etc.
In the month of November, 1899, definite action was taken for the building of a creamery at East New Portland. After canvassing the situation carefully the leading men of the town organized a stock company known as the Carrabassett Creamery Company, and commenced selling the stock which was nearly all taken within the limits of the town.
The factory is located near the residence of Wm. Parsons, and was made ready for the beginning of business in the month of March, 1900. The officers and directors were as follows:
The product of the factory is of the very highest quality and a ready market at excellent prices awaits every pound of its output. Let all stand by the new home industry!
FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY.
In Dec.ember, 1894, the subject of mutual protection from fire losses was taken under consideration by the leading farmers of the town, and the New Portland Mutual Fire Insurance Company was organized as a result of their deliberation.
Business was begun in March, 1895, with Hiram F. Weymouth, President; A. D. Brackley, Secretary; and A. S. Parsons, Treasurer. The company has had few losses and has a large number of policy holders, all of whom express satisfaction over the result of the adventure.
S. W. Elliott General Store
EAST NEW PORTLAND.