Location: Baileyville, Maine
Surnames/tags: Bailey, Caldwell, Frost, Sprague, Bonney, Bohanon, Stone, Thornton Baileyville
Supplemental information about the early settlers of Baileyville, Maine.
Who Was Nathaniel Bayley?
Nathaniel Bayley, the first settler of Baileyville, was born in Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1740. He was the son of Deacon Edmund Bayley and his second wife, Abigail Bartlett, whom he married in 1739. Nathaniel was the first son of this marriage of Deacon Edmund. Nathaniel’s father died in 1801 in Newbury, after surviving three wives and at the age of 91 years.
The Deacon was the 5th generation grandson of a John Bayley, who, after leaving his wife and most of his family in England, sailed to America with his son, John Jr. Their ship was dashed to pieces at Pemaquid Point, Maine, in “the great storm of August 15, 1635” (Hurricane ?). As the eye of the storm passed over with its void, most of the shipwrecked survivors were able to stumble their way to shore over the ledges of that long rocky point. After this frightening experience, John refused to cross the ocean again, and his wife refused to follow him here. John settled in Newbury, Massachusetts. This was during the first year of its settlement in 1635.
After two years in town, John Sr. plunged into the virgin forest to the northwest to build his solitary cabin on the other side of the Merrimac River, near the mouth of the Pow Wow. The area later became Salisbury, Massachusetts, and the knoll where John settled was called Bailey Hill. He was one of the first settlers of Salisbury, and a pioneer on the frontier of civilization north of the Merrimac.
This stubborn pioneering spirit was apparently still in Bayley blood when the immigrant John’s sixth generation grandson, Nathaniel Bayley (1740), who had also lived in Newbury, plunged into the deep unsettled forests of Bakerstown, Maine. He took his wife and three children with him (one a small baby). All local historical references agree that Nathaniel Bayley (1740) was the first settler of Bakerstown Plantation in 1768. This area later became Minot and Poland, Maine.
Nathaniel had been hired in Newbury in 1767 to help survey the new township of Bakerstown, so as to divide it into 100-acre lots, to be homesteaded for veterans of the French and Indian wars and their descendants. Nathaniel’s job was to act as axe-man and chain-man in the party. An axe-man cuts or notches trees so that a survey “sight” can be made and measured by the chain-man in lengths of chains 66 feet long. The survey party all returned to Newbury the next winter, but the following spring Nathaniel Bayley was again back with his wife, Martha Emery, whom he married in 1761, to settle in the town he had helped survey.
Within a year or so, Martha’s cousin, Moses Emery, followed Nathaniel and settled nearby in a cabin he built on the Little Androscoggin River. Nathaniel’s brothers, Edmund and Thomas, also followed. Moses Emery, Edmund, and Thomas Bayley all stayed in Bakerstown (Minot) and records show their succeeding generations become citizens of note there. Early Bakerstown town records indicate that Nathaniel Bayley (1740) did odd jobs for the town, such as cutting trees, road work, and warning settlers not to cut timber without authorization. In 1776, Nathaniel (1740), along with most other men of the town, signed a manifesto pledging money and manpower in the prosecution of the rebellion against England.
Pioneering Nathaniel Bayley (1740) showed up next officially in New Brunswick, Canada, around 1782 or 1783. At that time, the province was part of Nova Scotia, and had been advertising in New England and New York that homestead grants were available for the colonists – appealing to the loyalists, in particular. Nathaniel actually received his grant in St. Andrews, N.B., in August 1784. Most of the grantees at that time were from a loyalist (to England) settlement at Castine, on the Penobscot River in Maine, called “New Ireland”. It was sponsored and fortified by the English as their oasis, even though it was in Maine, in 1779; but they abandoned their sponsorship after the 1783 Peace Treaty was signed.
Whether Nathaniel was a member of this Penobscot Association is not clear, but there are indications that he, at least, knew of its plan to migrate to St. Andrews, N.B., to receive grants on the other side of the Schoodic River outside the reach of the patriots. Previous to receiving his St. Andrews grant, however, he had also obtained a grant from Nova Scotia a few miles up the Schoodic River on the waterfront in St. Stephen, N.B. This would indicate he did not migrate to St. Andrews with the Penobscot loyalists in August 1784, but, rather, had picked up the second grant there at the time of their official arrival. The Registrar of Deeds at St. Andrews recently told the writer that anyone who applied could have a grant there, whether he was from Penobscot (New Ireland) or not. Nathaniel’s move to New Brunswick was probably economic, not political – he had previously signed the Bakerstown manifesto supporting the fight against England. On the other hand, many loyalists in later years did shift their allegiance to England after a similar signing previously.
Nathaniel’s grant in the town of St. Stephen was on the Schoodic River (lot no. 128). It was on the east bank, opposite the farm of Jonas Dyer in Calais on the Maine bank. Nathaniel never lived there, but went to St. Andrews in 1783 as a squatter at St. Andrews point, where he stayed until his 1784 grant was obtained. Isaac T. Bailey, older son of Nathaniel (1740) did live on the St. Stephen grant until 1799, when he sold it to Jonas Dyer. Isaac T. was engaged in sawmill ventures on nearby Denny’s Stream during the 1790s with some of the Spragues (see deeds image).
When the Treaty of Peace with England was signed in 1783, St. Andrews began filling up rapidly with loyalists. By January 1784, 60 houses already were built in the town – by May, 90 houses – and in December 1784, the total was 250 houses with 1,000 people. It is even claimed that by 1788, this new town of a few years had a population of 3,000, and was already shipping lumber from its saw mills.
This fantastic growth evidently did not sit well with Nathaniel. His urge for more solitude and new frontiers had caught up with him again. He sold his grant and his farm on April 7 “in the 26th year of the reign of King George, the 3rd, Sovereign of Great Britain” (7 Apr 1786) and left for Calais, Maine, eight miles up the Schoodic on the Maine side. It was a new town of five years, with only a dozen families or so. His deed of sale for this St. Andrews property is in Book 1, pages 71 and 72, Deed No. 35, at the Charlotte County deed office in that town. The sale price was £60 in Halifax currency. Nathaniel’s brothers, Edmund (1741) and Samuel (1742) and Thomas (1746) also had grants from New Brunswick in the parish of St. Stephen. They continued to live in Bakerstown Plantation (by now set off as Minot and Poland); their grants never were homesteaded, so New Brunswick reclaimed them.
Esther Clark Wright of Nova Scotia, noted author of several books on the loyalists’ migration to Canada, has supplied information indicating that Nathaniel Bayley, born in Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1740, and his wife, Martha Emery, had the following children living with him in St. Andrews, N.B., in 1785: Martha, Sally (Sarah), Isaac Titcomb, Matthew, Lydia, Nathaniel (1773), Samuel, Abigail, Josiah and Elizabeth. The “Elizabeth”, as listed, was actually a baby girl less than a year old from a Chettis family who had lived in St. Andrews a very short time. Her father, John, was a carpenter in England. He came over the Atlantic on a ship that had a crew ordered to cut long straight pines for the British Navy masts. The family lived in a cabin near the wharves of St. Andrews, where the ship had docked in 1784. John Chettis hoped to gain employment by building cabins and houses in the rapidly growing town.
Due to a series of mishaps, the father died and the family in their shock were starving to death when friendly Indians gave them food and shelter. Meanwhile, the lumber ships had suddenly sailed away and the Chettis family were stranded with no funds. In the midst of all this, baby Elizabeth was born. Mother Chettis worked until she had sufficient money to return to England in another ship, but the new baby was still too young and weak to face the Atlantic. So Martha (Emery), Nathaniel’s wife, offered to care for the baby until Mother Chettis could arrange to have her returned to England. The mother and her other children were never heard from again, in spite of later efforts to locate her. They probably perished at sea.
Elizabeth was raised by her foster parents, the Nathaniel Bayleys, until she was around 12 years old. She was still in the family when they went to Baileyville and stayed there until her father was killed by an Indian in 1796. Then she was transferred t the Abial Sprague family, nearby neighbors at Sprague’s Falls. Moses Bonney, an early settler in the Schoodic region, who often stayed during the log-driving season with his cousin, Eli Sprague, at Sprague’s Falls, Baileyville, courted and married Elizabeth in 1801.
In Calais, after he came from St. Andrews, N.B., in 1786, Nathaniel Bayley apparently lived as a squatter about one mile south of the town’s center. Nearby were the farms of Daniel Bohanon, William Hill and the Nobles. Daniel Hill, a former member of “Rogers Rangers”, was the first white settler in Calais in 1779. He had come from Machias, where he was among the first group of 16 settlers to arrive in Captain Buck’s boat (1763). John Bohanon, a brother of Daniel Bohanon, had settled in the center of Calais, and he later was to become the first settler in nearby Alexander. Abial Sprague No. 2, with his sons, Abial No. 3 and Eli, also came from Machias, where his father had been in that first group to settle there. They, along with Nathaniel Bayley, were to become the first settlers in Baileyville. There were other settlers in Calais, not mentioned here, that had also been settlers in other early towns in Washington County.
Calais, in the 1780s, could well have been called a town of experienced frontier-building pioneers. They all were farmers and lumbermen – a combination essential for one to survive in the Schoodic region.
Some of the early settlers of the Calais-St. Stephen region were already involved in speculative interest in sawmills in the 1790s. Most of these were either on Denny’s Stream at the the southern end of St. Stephen, or on Mohannes Stream on the northern end.Note: A list of excerpts from some of their deeds has been attached to this free space profile as an image.
- ↑ Albert W. Bailey, Early Baileyville Maine and its Pioneers (Calais Advertiser Press, Calais ME, 1972, 100 pages), pp. 20-22