Somerset County, Maine Place Study

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Somerset County

Somerset County is a county located in the state of Maine, in the United States. Its county seat was Norridgewock, from 1809-1871 and Skowhegan, since 1871.

County website


  • Mountains: Boundary Bald Mountain, Coburn Mountain, Mount Bigelow, Moxie Mountain, Sandy Bay Mountain.
  • Bodies of water: Carrabassett River, Flagstaff Lake, Kennebec River, Moose River, Moxie Falls.


  • Towns

Anson, (First settled in 1772 as Plantation Number One. Incorporated on March 1, 1798 as Anson).

Athens, (Settled by Revolutionary War soldiers, incorporated on March 7, 1804).

Bingham (First settled in 1785. Incorporated on February 06, 1812. Named for William Bingham, the town was included in his second purchase of Maine lands, which consisted primarily of what is now Somerset County).

Cambridge, (Incorporated on February 8, 1834 on land set off from the town of Ripley).

Canaan, (Incorporated on June 18, 1788. Variously known as Heywoodstown (in honor of the first settler Peter Heywood), Howard’s Town, plantation of Wesserunset, and Old Canaan, it once included the area now encompassing the town of Skowhegan).

Caratunk, (Incorporated on October 14, 1977 from Caratunk Plantation. The Plantation was organized for election purposes in 1840).

Cornville (Settled in 1794, Cornville was incorporated on 24 February 1798).

Detroit, (Incorporated on February 19, 1828 as Chandlerville, which was previously known as Plantation Number Five, R2, N.W.P. Its name was changed to Detroit on March 18, 1841).

Embden, (The settlers arrived in the 1770’s, making settlements along the Kennebec River, which is the eastern border of the town with Solon across the river. Incorporated on June 22, 1804).

Fairfield (Fairfield Plantation was first settled in 1774. On June 18, 1788, it was incorporated as Fairfield).

Harmony, (Settled in 1796 and incorporated on June 15, 1803).

Hartland, (First settled about 1800 by James Fuller, the community had a tavern by 1811, later known as the Hartland House. Incorporated on February 17, 1820).


Madison, (Permanent settlers arrived by 1775. It was surveyed in 1791 and incorporated March 7, 1804).

Mercer, (First settled in the early-1780’s, it was named for Revolutionary War Brigadier-General Hugh Mercer. Incorporated on June 22, 1804 from Industry Plantation).

Moose River,

Moscow, (Originally a part of the Bingham Purchase, it was settled by families named Baker beginning in 1773 and was known as Bakerstown. Incorporated on January 30, 1816. The petitioners for incorporation in 1812 were impressed by Napoleon’s capture of, and eventual retreat from, the Russian city of Moscow; thus the name).

New Portland, (Settled in about 1785 and incorporated on March 9, 1808. It is the center of a once larger township given to the people of Portland (then Falmouth) by the Massachusetts General Court to compensate for their losses from the destruction caused by the British fleet in 1775.).

Norridgewock (First settled in 1773, then called Norridgewock Plantation. The town was incorporated on June 18, 1788).

Palmyra, (Originally known as Shepherdstown after an early land agent, the area was first settled by Daniel Gale and his family in 1800. Incorporated June 20, 1807).

Pittsfield, (Moses Martin of Norridgewock came to the area in 1790 on a hunting expedition, admired the location, and became, along with his wife and four children, its first settler. Incorporated as the town of Warsaw on June 19, 1819. In 1824 it set off land to Canaan, annexed land from Palmyra, and changed its name to Pittsfield in honor of William Pitts of Boston, a large landowner).

Ripley, ( Incorporated December 11, 1816).

St. Albans, (Settled 1800 and incorporated on June 14, 1813).

Skowhegan, (On April 30, 1772, Joseph Weston and his family arrived as the first settlers in the area. In in mid-18th century, Dr. Nathaniel Whitaker was the first minister, first doctor, and something of a lawyer, having been educated at what is now Princeton University, according to the records at the Skowhegan History House. In 1811, Revolutionary War General Josiah Locke established a tavern (inn) at the corner of Main and West Front Streets. He operated the tavern for 50 years and was postmaster for 49 years. Incorporated on February 5, 1823 as the Town of Milburn from a portion of Canaan. The name was changed to Skowhegan in 1836).

Smithfield, (Incorporated on February 29, 1840 from East Pond Plantation, and portions of Mercer and Dearborn. Named for its respected resident, Reverend Henry Smith).

Solon (First settled in 1782 by William Hilton from Wiscasset).

Starks, (First settled in 1772 by James Waugh along the Sandy River. In 1784 Luke Sawyer built a sawmill on the Lemon Stream and a settlement called Sawyer’s Mills developed around it, later to be called Starks Village. Incorporated on February 28, 1795 from Lower Sandy River Plantation).

  • Census-designated places

Anson, Bingham, Fairfield, Hartland, Madison, Norridgewock, Pittsfield, Skowhegan

  • Plantations

Brighton Plantation, Dennistown, Highland Plantation, Pleasant Ridge Plantation, The Forks, West Forks

  • Unorganized territories

Central Somerset, Northeast Somerset, Northwest Somerset, Seboomook Lake

  • Villages

Flagstaff, North Anson, Rockwood

County Maps

  • Atlas of Somerset County, Maine by George N. Colby & Co., Houlton and Skowhegan, Maine, Published 1883. Atlas of Somerset County


  • Secondary schools

Carrabec High School – North Anson

Faith Baptist Christian School – Skowhegan (serves multiple grades)

Forest Hills Consolidated School (K-12) – Jackman

Lawrence High School – Fairfield

Madison Area Memorial High School – Madison

Maine Academy of Natural Sciences – Hinckley

Maine Central Institute – Pittsfield

Skowhegan Area High School – Skowhegan

Upper Kennebec Valley Memorial High School – Bingham

  • Higher education

Kennebec Valley Community College

  • Miscellaneous

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture

L.C. Bates Museum

Historic Schools and Buildings

Bloomfield Academy (Skowhegan, Maine).

Dudley's Corner School House (Skowhegan, Maine).

Eaton School (Norridgewock, Maine).

Norridgewock Female Academy (Norridgewock, Maine).

Somerset Academy (Athens, Maine).

Historic Churches

The Asa Bates Memorial Chapel, also known as the Ten Lots Chapel (Fairfield, Maine).

Bingham Free Meetinghouse (Bingham, Maine).

Former First Baptist Church (Skowhegan, Maine).

Mercer Union Meetinghouse (Mercer, Maine),

Moose River Congregational Church (Jackman, Maine).

Pittsfield Universalist Church (Pittsfield, Maine).

South Solon Meetinghouse (Solon, Maine).


York County was Maine’s first county, established November 20, 1652, by the Massachusetts act that also incorporated the town of Kittery. The county included all of the land claimed by Massachusetts beyond the Piscataqua River, which now defines the southern boundary of Maine with New Hampshire. In 1674, the jurisdiction of Massachusetts was extended to Muscongus Bay, near Pemaquid Point in the current town of Bristol. By 1760 its eastern boundary was identified as the St. Croix River, now the border of Washington County with New Brunswick, Canada. On June 21, 1760, York was divided by adding two new counties within it eastern area: Cumberland and Lincoln.

Lincoln County was the most easterly of the two counties established, June 21, 1760, when York County was first divided. Its western boundary started at the eastern extremity of Casco Bay to New Meadows River, across the Carrying Place to Merrymeeting Bay and then up the Androscoggin River 30 miles and from thence north 2 degrees west to the northern limits of the province. Its eastern boundary was the Province of Nova Scotia and extended from the sea to the unbounded northern limits of the province of Maine. The southwest part of this new county had once been Cornwall County of the Colony of New York. All of the towns in Cornwall County had been destroyed by the Indians before 1700. The new towns of Georgetown and Pownalborough, and the districts of Newcastle and Woolwich were existent when Lincoln County was established. The county, which once comprised more than 90% of Maine, was later divided giving portions to Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, and Washington counties.

Kennebec County is located in central Maine and bisected by the Kennebec River. It was formed on February 20, 1799 from the northern part of Lincoln County.

Somerset County, Maine was formed on March 1, 1809 from the northern portion of Kennebec County. In 1838 substantial sections of the county were given up to form Piscataquis and Franklin counties. A series of boundary changes in the 19th century came to an end in 1885 when a portion of Wellington in Piscataquis County was annexed to Cambridge in Somerset.

One of the oldest towns in the county is Canaan, which was incorporated in 1788, some years before most of the other areas had been explored to any considerable extent. This was due, perhaps, to its proximity to the Kennebec River along the banks of which the earliest settlers of the county made their homes. The first settlement is said to have been made about 1770 or 1771. The group was made up of five people: Eli Weston, age 12; Isaac Smith, age 15; Joseph Weston; Peter Heywood; and Samuel Weston. The survey of the town was made by John Jones in 1779, and the town was incorporated in 1788, under its present name, which was given to it because of the beauty of its scenery and the fertility of its soil. The plantation name was Wesserunsett and later Heywoodstown, from Peter Heywood, the first settler. The area of the town was formerly very much larger than at present, Skowhegan having been at one time included within its limits. The plantation records commence in 1783. Canaan was first represented in the "General Court" by Benjamin Shepherd. The first post office was established in 1793.[1]

Early Settlers

Joseph Barker came as one of the earliest settlers of Cornville from Massachusetts bringing with him only his ax with which to fight his battle with the wilderness. He bought 600 acres of land surrounding what is now known as Barker Pond. There was only an acre cleared when he came, and he completed clearing the farm. Mr. Barker m. Eliza Morrill, of Cornville.

Capt. Joseph Barrett, came to Canaan with his family from Ludlow, Vt. in 1806 and cleared a farm. In 1816 Mr. Barrett built the house which still stands on the farm. Mr. Barrett died when quite young. Joseph Jr. followed the profession of law and served in the capacity of Judge, County Commissioner and Trustee of several State Institutions.

George Bixby, who was one to the prominent citizens of Athens, came from Boxford, Massachusetts. He was one of the first trustees of Athens Academy, and was the first representative from this class of towns in the Maine legislature of 1820. His wife was Rachel White, and their children were: Henry, Charles, James, Edward, Maria m. Showell, Annie m. Hale, Sarah m. Martin.

Joseph Boston came with his wife from Buxton, Maine, in about 1812 and took up a settlement in Canaan, clearing a farm. A number of the residents of the town trace their descent to this pioneer.

Francis Bunker came from New Hampshire among the early settlers about 1800 to Athens and took up a farm a mile square. His wife was Susan Foss. He settled on Bunker Hill and lived for some years in a log house which he built on the place now occupied by John Thompson.

Robert Bunker came to Athens and is said to have come through from Mirimichi on horse back, following a blazed trail through the woods. His wife, Polly Alexander, accompanied him.

Moses Carr was born in New Hampshire, March 21, 1757 and died at Cornville, Maine, Jan. 13, 1843. His wife, Mary Page Carr, was also born in N. H., April 1, 1767 and died at Cornville, April 27, 1850. Moses Carr was a captain in the Revolutionary War and his wife was the daughter of a captain. They came with a family of eight children to Cornville in 1800. Four were born after their arrival in the town.

Benjamin Chase was probably the first settler in his part of the town of Canaan. He cleared the farm on the side of the Hill that bears his name. The old county road over the hill used to pass by the door and the passing of the stage from Bangor to Norridgewock must have been a great event for the lonely settler's family. Mr. Chase was a soldier in the war of 1812. He became one of the prominent citizens of the town owning large tracts of land and being interested in the growing industries of the settlement. His descendants are numerous throughout the town today.

Moses Corson came to Athens among the earliest settlers and cleared a farm in the north part of town. He is said to have brought corn on his back from Skowhegan when he came. For some years after his arrival Indians were wont to camp on his farm near Wentworth's Pond. Mr. Corson's first wife was Betsey Tuttle and his second wife Polly Wyman.

Ephraim Currier came to Cornville from Amesbury, Mass. in about 1812 and settled on a farm. He m. Mary Flanders.

Joseph Dore (b. 1479), the first member of the Dore family to come to Athens. His wife was Phoebe Lord, b. 1750. He settled in the northeast part of the town. The oldest son, Samuel, (b. 1776), from whom most of the name living in this locality are descended, m. Lydia Corson (b. 1778).

Samuel Elkins, 3rd (b. 1766) with his wife, Lydia (Smith) Elkins, came to Cornville from New Hampshire before 1800 and settled on the West Ridge road.

One of the most important names in the history of Cornville is that of the Flanders family, the first member of which, Jodediah Flanders (b. 1748), came to the town from Little Salisbury, N. H. about 1795, only seven families preceding him in time of settlement. He bought a thousand acres in the center of the town and settled upon it with his boys. Soon after his coming he built a saw mill and grist mill and later a tannery and a fulling mill on the river near the present residence of George Warren. Mr. Flanders m. Judith Tewksbury (b. 1752.) Mr. Flanders died in 1823, aged 75 years. Thomas Flanders, son Jedediah, came to Cornville from Salisbury, N. H. prior to 1800. He m. Sarah Sawyer (b. 1777). Jeremiah Flanders (b. 1799) and his wife Betsey (Blaisdell) came from South Hampton, N. H. with a team prior to 1821. The family lived for some time in a log house and later Mr. Flanders built the house which now stands on the place. Nathaniel Flanders (b. 1798) came to Cornville from South Hampton, N. H. in 1822 and settled in the east part of the town. Mr. Flanders came alone at first, began his clearing and built a small log house. The next year he brought his wife to the new home. The journey was made up the river to Waterville by boat and the remainder of the distance by team, three weeks being required to complete it.

Samuel Fogg, b. 1756, came from Raymond, N. H. to Cornville and settled on a place on East Ridge.

Samuel Folsom was a blacksmith, storekeeper and land surveyor in Cornville. He came as an early settler, from N. H., and settled on a farm. He was a well read man, having received his education in Londonderry Academy. His surveying instruments and many of his old text books are in the possession of a granddaughter, Mrs. Ira Page of Hartland, among them being all old compass bearing the inscription, "Made & Sold by John Dupee ye North Side Swing Bridge, Boston, New England." Mr. Folsom m. Hannah Green, and to them were born three children.

Thomas Fox was b. in Parsonsfield in 1800, and came to Athens with his parents when twelve years old. They settled on what is known as Fox Hill.

Allen Freeman, b. 1795 and an 1812 soldier, was one of the men who took up wild land in the town of Cornville. He came from Leeds. His wife was Jane Leadbetter, b. 1810.

John French (b.1800) came from Epping, N. H. as a settler with his son Joseph.

James Fuller (b. 1722) first settled Hartland in 1802.

The area of Palymyra, originally known as Shepherdstown after an early land agent, was first settled by Daniel Gale and his family in 1800.

Jacob Gardner, the first of the name to settle in Cornville, was a native of Germany. He was taken prisoner by the English while serving under Napoleon. But he re-enlisted under the English while in a prison ship and after serving some time determined to escape, so together with five others escaped while their ship was in Newport and Mr. Gardner came to Athens then to Cornville about 1812 and married Alice Foss to whom were born eight children.

Nathaniel Goodale, another of the settlers of Canaan, was by trade a ship builder. He came from England and settled first in Wells, Maine, later removing with his family to Canaan.

The first of the name of Goodridge to come to Canaan were four brothers, David, Samuel, Jonathan, and Jeremiah, who came from Brunswick about 1790. They all reared large families except David, and their descendants are very numerous in the town. The brothers cleared farms near the Clinton line, in the south part of the town. Jonathan Goodridge settled also in the south part of the town. He was in trade for some time and had a mill in Canaan village. Jeremiah Goodridge came to Canaan from Berwick about 1816, with his wife Sarah Wentworth and eleven children, two more being born after their coming to Canaan. He bought a large tract of land in the southern part of the town and erected a large set of buildings.

James Goodwin cleared a farm not far from the stream near Canaan village.

Jeremiah Goodwin (b. 1772) came from Wells among the earliest settlers of Canaan, and settled in the neighborhood of the village, where he built and operated for some time the first mill there. His wife was Miss Fannie Powers (b. 1772) of Deer Isle. Their oldest son, Clement is said to have been the first born in the town of Canaan. He became later one of the early settlers of the town of Hartland. Mr. Goodwin at one time owned a large part of the land where the village now stands.

James Hall, whose wife was Anna Steward, came to Athens from New Hampshire and lived on the place adjoining Samuel Taylor's. He owned all the land from where Alanson Hall lives to the stream.

Samuel Hall, about the year 1800, the first settler to make a permanent home in Athens. He was the son of Daniel Hall of Wakefield, New Hampshire.

Peter Heywood, son of Josiah Heywood, was born in Concord, April 24, 1726. He was the first settler of Canaan, Maine, now Skowhegan. He married, May 29, 1750, Sarah Wesson or Weston. Peter Heywood, Joseph Weston and Isaac Smith were the pioneer settlers of that part of old Canaan, now Skowhegan, Maine., Peter Heywood and Joseph Weston came first in the early fall of 1771 with some of the boys and bringing some young cattle. They cut hay on some of the adjacent islands that had been cleared by the Indians, built a camp and left two of the boys, Eli Weston and Isaac Smith, to spend the winter and care for the cattle.

Joseph Hight was born in New Hampshire in 1754, and m. Mary Ayer. They came to Athens in 1800, and went to live with their son William, who had settled a few years previously on the place were Bradbury Barker now lives.

Col. Joseph Hilton was a large land owner in Cornville and he settled a number of his children there. He at one time owned about one third of the town. His son Daniel came with his wife Phoebe from Deerfield, N. H. about 1816 and settled on the West Ridge road. He came before roads were built and his wife rode horseback with a child in her arms. Hannah, a daughter of Daniel Hilton, m. Alden Russell and lived on the home place for many years. Theodore Hilton, b. 1802, and his wife, Polly (Butler) b. 1804, came to the east part of Cornville on the place occupied by James Nason in 1827. His older brother Joseph, came to Cornville in 1822 and settled in same locality. Joseph's wife was Comfort Dearbon. They had a family of nine children.

Among the most noteworthy of the early families in the Canaan were the Holts several of whom were among the pioneers. The first member of the family with his four sons came to Canaan from New Hampshire or from Berwick, among the earliest settlers. The sons were: Isaac, Alvah, Asa and Jonathan. There was also a sister, Polly, who m. Mr. Wheeler. Alvah Asa and Jonathan Holt served in the War of 1812, the latter being a corporal. He took part in the battle of Sackett's Harbor. Isaac held the position of Captain in a company mustered for the Aroostook War. Jonathan Holt m. Betsey Bailey of New Hampshire, and they had six children. Capt. Isaac Holt was prominent in public affairs during the early years of the town. He m. Eleanor Kimball of Canaan and lived in Canaan until near the end of his life, when he moved to Clinton.

Noah Hubbard, a veteran of the War of 1812, came from Cape Cod to Sidney, Maine and thence to Canaan, in the days when the trail from Sidney was nothing but a spotted line through the forest. He settled oil Herrin Hill, which was then a part of Hartland. Mr. Hubbard served through out the second war with England and was severely wounded at the battle of Lake Champlain. When he came to Maine to make a settlement, he brought with him the cavalry horse which he had used in the army. His wife Betsey came with him from Cape Cod, riding on horse back and carrying Edward Hubbard, then a baby of nine. months, in her arms. The first shanty of the pioneer was built near a big boulder on the side of the hill. Later a log house a little more pretentious was erected near. Still later Mr. Hubbard, with his son Orin moved down into the valley near the pond, where they built a log house, the traces of which may still be seen (1912), on the farm now owned by George Hubbard, a grandson of the pioneer.

Enos Jewell, the first of the name to come to Canaan, settled in about 1810. He came from Berwick with his wife, Fanny Fairbanks and they built a log house and cleared the farm. The story is told that they occupied the house before the roof was done, and that they were obliged to shelter themselves from a shower one night by covering the bed with pans.

Samuel Jewett lived on the east side of Herrin Hill in Canaan. He married Betsey Steward, and they brought up a family of ten children: Isaac, Fifield, Samuel, Henry, Solomon, William, Joseph, Amanda, Zilphia and Eliza.

Four brothers named Kendall came from England to America about 1812 or earlier. Of these Abiatha settled in Canaan; William was an early settler of Fairfield and gave the Panic to Kendall's Mills in that town; David settled at Pishon's Ferry; and Benjamin settled in Reddington, Massachusetts. Mr. Kendall's farm in Canaan was in the south part of the town. His wife was Betsey Spearin. David had a son Hartley who became an explorer in the employ of the government died in the government service at St. Anthony Falls, Minn. At the time when Mr. Kendall settled the settlers were accustomed to carry their corn on horseback to the mill at Pishon's Ferry to have it ground.

David Kimball came to Canaan about 1822 and cleared a farm at Brown's Corner.

Adna Kincaid settled on the land in Cornville. He bought several acres of John G. Neal and a mill privilege on the stream below the place. His wife was Harriet Jones.

Col. Jonathan Kinsman, who was b. in Ipswich, Mass in 1750, was educated at Brown University. He came to Athens in 1798, and was one of the first proprietors of Athens, which he named Kinsman- town. He cleared land, making a home for his family at the corner above the place known as the Dow place Col. Kinsman raised a family of nine children, of who the oldest, Joseph, was also very prominent in the early settlement of Athens and later Cornville, where he made his home. Joseph was born in Exeter, N. H. in 1780, and m. Eliza Page. He accompanied his father to Maine and was also one of the proprietors of Athens, was twice a member of the Maine Legislature, for many years a Brigadier General of the Militia, and an extensive land owner, lumber dealer and farmer.

Philip Leavitt (b. Exeter, N. H. 1774) came to Athens with his wife, Mary (Pike) and child, Caleb, settling on Stickney Hill. His daughter Sarah (b. 1798) is said to have been the first female child born in Athens. She m. Robert Wentworth. Mr. Leavitt traded farms with William Stickney, who lived on what is known as Chapman Ridge and there built and ran the first store in town.

Samuel Locke, came to Athens from New Hampshire and he felled the first tree to make a settlement on Lord's Hill. He is said to have brought with him on his long journey thru the forest a bushel of corn, and an ax with which to make the clearing for his new home.

Samuel Longfellow, b. Dec. 26, 1813, a direct descendant of William Longfellow, the first immigrant by that name, came to Cornville and married Sarah Winslow in 1842. He afterwards cleared and settled upon a farm. To them were born six children.

Moses Martin of Norridgewock came to the area of Pittsfield in 1790 on a hunting expedition, admired the location, and became, along with his wife and four children, its first settler. A skilled woodsman, hunter, trapper, and fisher, he got along well with the local Indians.

Daniel Moody, whose wife was Jemima, came from Mass, sometime before 1820 and was one of the first settlers in the east part of Cornville. He built a log house in which he lived for some time.

Stephen Moore, the first of the name to settle in Canaan, was born in England, and came to Canaan in 1815. He cleared the farm and built the buildings now (1912) occupied by Frank Penny. Very soon after his coming he built the mill which has given the name of Moore's Mills to that part of the town. Later he built a grist mill on a ledge near the saw mill, and this was sold and a new one erected about 1842. This last mill is the one which, revised and remodeled, is at present (1912) operated by Frank Penny, the grandson of Stephen Moore.

Henry Morrill, another of the early settlers, came, as did many others, from New Hampshire to make a settlement in Athens.

David Nason (b. Nov. 16, 1783) came to Canaan from Berwick in 1800. He felled the first tree upon the farm now (1912) occupied by his great grandson, Guy Nason. In 1803 he built the house which now stands upon the farm. He m. Priscilla Hubbard.

Elisha Nason, a farmer and trapper, came from Berwick to Canaan about 1800, and settled upon a farm. His wife was a Miss Clinton.

John Nason was born in Hinkley about 1789 and came when a young man to Canaan, married, and made a settlement there. He cleared a farm in the southern part of the town.

Andrew Neal came with his wife Sarah from N. H. to Brighton, afterwards moving to Cornville. About 1825 he cleared and settled the farm now (1912) occupied by Samuel Foss. To them were born eleven children.

John Nevins came in about 1812 from Danville, when this part of the country was almost an unbroken wilderness, traveling part of the way from Danville by means of a spotted line through the woods. There was a brother who came at the same time and took up his settlement in the town of Embden, while John settled on Herrin Hill, then within the limits of Hartland. Later he moved to Canaan. His wife's name was Mary Ray.

Capt. Enoch Page and his wife Elia (Cilly) came to Cornville 1799 from Ohio by way of N. H. He put up a small house just in front of the present residence. The youngest child, who afterward became Mrs. Kinsman, rode through from N. H. on a four year old colt. Mrs. Page lived to be 100 years of age. At the time of the Harrison election she led a procession 1 1/2 miles long on horseback to a log cabin on the mountain south of Athens village.

Thomas Paine came from Durham, Me. to Cornville about 1830 and cleared a farm. His son Daniel (b. 1806) lived on the home place and cleared the farm. He married Elizabeth French (b. 1812) on Jan. 20, 1835.

Joseph Parsons was one of the very earliest settlers of the town of Cornville. His wife was Sarah Ames. They settled a little cast of the East Ridge road on Road "G." He cleared up a farm and built buildings on the place.

Edward Ramsdell (b. 1805, d. 1883) came from "Old York" about 1832 and cleared a farm near the Pittsfield line. His wife was Maria Welch, who was b. in 1812. Mr. Ramsdell was long a deacon of the Christian Church of Canaan.

William Rand came from New Hampshire, about 1806, and settled on a farm in Canaan. He married Sally Pearson of Clinton.

Tristram Ricker came to Canaan about 1809, and cleared the farm now (1912) occupied by Herbert Davis. In 1807 he had m. Myra Lason.

Benjamin Rines came from Waterville in 1819 and settled on what is known as the Old Rines Place in Athens. His wife was Lucy Stover.

John Robinson came from Exeter, N. H. about 1812 and took up a vast tract of land in Cornville on the west ridge, where many of his descendants live today. He built a log house on the farm. The land which he took up he divided later into three farms for his three sons, Joseph, Josiah and Chandler.

Enoch Rowell, whose wife was Comfort (Shaw) came from Epping, N. H. to Cornville in 1839.

Nathan Small (m. Susan Corson) came to Athens from Clinton, and settled first on the place now (1912) occupied by Ray Jones. In 1813 he moved to the farm in the east part of the town were Preston C. Small now (1912) lives.

Biley Smith and his wife, Lydia (Elkins), came to Cornville and he was about the first settler in the town. He came from N. H. about 1792. He built a log cabin on the opposite side of the road from the present home. The next spring the first hay was raised from seed of English grass brought by Mrs. Smith's brother.

Isaac Smith, son of Abraham Smith and Rhoda Wheeler, was born in Sudbury, 1754. He was brought up in the family of Peter Heywood. He was one of the pioneer settlers of old Canaan, which became Skowhegan. Isaac Smith married Hannah, born Aug. 11, 1759, at Concord, daughter of Peter Heywood. She died May 11, 1811. Isaac died at Hartland, Maine, March 27, 1835. Peter Heywood, Joseph Weston and Isaac Smith were the pioneer settlers of that part of old Canaan, now Skowhegan, Maine., Peter Heywood and Joseph Weston came first in the early fall of 1771 with some of the boys and bringing some young cattle. They cut hay on some of the adjacent islands that had been cleared by the Indians, built a camp and left two of the boys, Eli Weston and Isaac Smith, to spend the winter and care for the cattle.

Amos Stickney came to Stickney Hill in Athens before 1812. He built a log cabin and later a frame house on the place which he cleared.

James Taylor came from Sidney, Maine about 1827, and settled in Athens. His wife was Mary Hight. The descendants of Mr. Taylor settled about him, so that the section of the town has taken the name of The Taylor Neighborhood. Comfort Taylor, the brother of James, came a few years later to Athens, and brought an adjoining farm. He lived for some time in a log house. He was a Baptist minister, and preached in the surrounding town. His wife was Martha Hight.

John Tibbetts (married Lydia Dore) came to Athens from New Hampshire about 1820 and settled in the west part of the town.

Daniel Tilton came to Cornville and settled on a farm in 1812 or earlier.

James S. Tobey (b. in Fairfield, 1808) came to Athens when a young man, and m. Sarah P. Williams.

Bethiah (Rose) Tozier, one of the most remarkable women in the history of Athens, was born near Bangor and m. Benjamin Tozier of Fairfield. She lived to be 108 years old, retaining her faculties and powers in a remarkable degree to the last year of her life. Here children were Thankful m. Gullifer, John, Amy m. Tripp, Lucy m. Williams, Bloomy m. Cook.

Eben Tuttle came in 1806 from Berwick and settled at Canaan village. He took up and cleared a large tract of land. His second wife was Sarah Nason, who lived to be 95 years old.

Jesse Washburn (b. in Joy, 1800) came from Waterville to Canaan with his wife Deborah (Wilson) (b. 1802) and set up a shoemaker's shop in the village.

John Wentworth, a direct descendant of William Wentworth, who came to Exeter, N. H. in 1639, was born in Berwick, Maine, 1761. He served in the Revolutionary War, and after the close of the war m. Hannah Elwell of Buxton, Maine. In 1790 he moved to Limington and in 1798 to Athens, among the first settlers, making three journeys through the wilderness to the new settlement before bringing his family, in order to have a home and provisions prepared for them when they should come. A year later he discovered for the first time the sheet of water known as Wentworth's Pond, which lay within half a mile of his house. Mr. Wentworth cleared the farm in Athens now (1912) occupied by Chester Wentworth. To John and Hannah Wentworth were born eight children. Robert, the third son, m. Sally Leavitt, the first female child to be born in the town of Athens. She rode to the old Wentworth homestead on horseback after the wedding and lived there until her death, which occurred about 1890, when she was about 95 years of age. The pioneers of the Wentworth family in Cornville were Quakers and that has been the religious preference of their descendants.

Joseph Weston, of Concord, Massachusetts, was born March 7, 1731; Eunice, his wife was born in 1735. He and Peter Heywood were among the first settlers north of Winslow, Maine. Joseph's sister married Peter Heywood and is said to have lived to be between 90 and 100 years old when she died in Palmyra, Maine. Peter Heywood, Joseph Weston and Isaac Smith were the pioneer settlers of that part of old Canaan, now Skowhegan, Maine., Peter Heywood and Joseph Weston came first in the early fall of 1771 with some of the boys and bringing some young cattle. They cut hay on some of the adjacent islands that had been cleared by the Indians, built a camp and left two of the boys, Eli Weston and Isaac Smith, to spend the winter and care for the cattle. Several of the early settlers in Canaan volunteered for the Revolutionary War, but Joseph Weston was the only one who actually went. Joseph died October 16, 1775 of a violent cold and fever which he contracted while accompanying Benedict Arnold's expedition up the Kennebec River.

James Whitten came in 1805 probably from Berwick and cleared a farm in Canaan.

Nathaniel Whittier, the first of the name to settle in Cornville, came with his family from Stratton, N. H. about 1780. He cleared the land and built a large two story house upon the farm now (1912) occupied by Almon Whittier, his grandson. The old house has since been moved from its former site and is used for a carriage house. It is said that when the old house was built Mr. Whittier hired a blacksmith to come to the place and make the nails as they were wanted. William Whittier was another of the same name to settle in Cornville. To William and Ruth Whittier were born nine children.

Samuel Williams came to Athens from North Anson and lived on a farm and kept the hotel in the village years ago. He was deputy sheriff when the town was a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and was often called upon to make long trips in that office.

Early Settler source. [2]


1622 — Sir Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason are granted rights to lands which make up what is now Maine and New Hampshire. Gorges became the first person to title the territory "Maine".

1652 — Maine is annexed as a frontier territory by Massachusetts. The strategic importance of Maine is established as Massachusetts officials considered it the first line of defense against potential French and Indian invasions.

1675 — King Phillip's War begins what will be a long and arduous battle between the English and the French and Indians for control of the North American territories.

1675 - 1763 — This time period is marked by continuous conflict between the North American powers. What began with King Phillip's War ended with France surrendering their holdings in the new world to the English at the finish of the Seven Years War. During this time, Maine bore the brunt of several attacks by the French and Indian forces.

1722 — Norridgewock: The village's Catholic mission was run by a French Jesuit priest, Father Sébastien Râle. Massachusetts governor Samuel Shute declared war on the Abenaki.

1724 — Battle of Norridgewock.

1741 — New Hampshire becomes separate province; border with Maine is established.

1771 — The first settlers of the region around Skowhegan. The group consisted of two families, the Heywoods and the Westons.

1774 — First settlers of Fairfield Plantation.

1775 — Benedict Arnold marches a band of revolutionaries to Swan Island in the Kennebec River then through Maine in a failed attempt to capture British strongholds in Quebec City and Montreal.

1782 — First settlements in the town Solon.

1786 — William Bingham (1752-1804), a wealthy and influential Philadelphia banker and a financier during the Revolutionary War, secured the Bingham Purchase, in two tracts, from Massachusetts. Each comprised 1,000,000 acres. The first, or Bingham Penobscot Purchase, was located in Washington and Hancock counties. Somerset County was the site of his second or Kennebec Purchase, including the current town of Bingham.

1788 — Incorporation of the towns of Canaan, Fairfield, and Norridgewock.

1798 — Incorporation of the towns of Anson and Cornville.

1800 — Hartland is first settled by James Fuller. The community had a tavern by 1811, later known as the Hartland House.

1804 — Incorporation of the towns of Athens, Emden, Madison, and Mercer.

1807 — Incorporation of the town of Palmyra.

1809 — Somerset County established from a portion of Kennebec. Incorporation of the town of Solon.

1812 — War of 1812, British and Americans fight naval battles off Maine coast. U.S. Congress declares war on Britain in protest over shipping interference. Incorporation of the town of Bingham.

1814 — Incorporation of the town of Bloomfield.

1816 — Incorporation of the towns of Moscow and Ripley.

1820 — As a result of the Missouri Compromise, Maine becomes its own state. Incorporation of the town of Warrentown (or Warrenton), later to be called Hartland.

1823 — Skowhegan is set off from Canaan and incorporate under the name Milburn. It would be renamed Skowhegan in 1836,

1861 — Civil War begins, 73,000 Maine men serve. Skowhegan annexed Bloomfield across the river.

1871 — Skowhegan becomes county seat.

1897 — Birth in Skowhegan of U.S. Senator (1949-1973) Margaret Chase Smith.

1939 — Margaret Chase Smith’s political career begins as she succeeds her late husband, Clyde Harold Smith, in the U.S. House of Representatives.

1948 — Skowhegan native Margaret Chase Smith is elected to the U.S. Senate making her the first woman to ever be voted into this office and also the first women to serve in both houses of Congress.


Notable People

Ethel Atwood, musician, orchestra founder.

Jane E. Bartlett (1839 – 1923), an American portraitist.

Louis Jefferson Brann (July 6, 1876 – February 3, 1948), an American lawyer and political figure. He was the 56th Governor of Maine.

Abner Coburn (1803 - 1885), 30th governor of Maine.

Louise Helen Coburn (1856 - 1949), founded the Sigma Kappa sorority.

Stephen Coburn (1817 - 1882), US congressman.

Daniel Dole, Protestant missionary educator to the Hawaiian Islands.

Donna Finley, Maine state legislator.

Francis Howard Friend (February 17, 1898 - November 24, 1958), an American politician from Maine, who served in the Maine House of Representatives (1920-1934) and Maine Senate (1935-1944).

Forrest Goodwin (June 14, 1862 – May 28, 1913), a United States Representative from Maine.

Samuel Wadsworth Gould (January 1, 1852 – December 19, 1935), a United States Representative from Maine.

Pamela Hatch, Maine state legislator.

David Kidder (December 8, 1787 – November 1, 1860), an American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives from Maine.

Freeman Knowles, U. S. congressman from South Dakota.

Stephen Decatur Lindsey (March 3, 1828 – April 26, 1884), a nineteenth-century politician and lawyer from Maine.

Kenneth P. MacLeod, Maine state senator.

Jeff McCabe, Maine state legislator.

Carl Elias Milliken (July 13, 1877 – May 1, 1961), an American politician, and business executive. He served as the 51st Governor of Maine.

Peter Mills, Maine state senator.

Benjamin White Norris (January 22, 1819 – January 26, 1873), Paymaster for the US Army and a U.S. Representative from Alabama during reconstruction.

Llewellyn Powers (October 14, 1836 – July 28, 1908), a U.S. Representative from Maine and the 44th Governor of Maine.

Cullen Sawtelle (September 25, 1805 – November 10, 1887), a U.S. Representative from Maine.

Clyde Smith, U. S. Congressman and husband of Margaret Chase Smith.

Margaret Chase Smith, U.S. Senator.

Carrie Stevens, inventor of the Grey Ghost fly lure.

Bartlett Tripp (1839 - 1911), Chief Justice of the Dakota Territory Supreme Court 1885-9, lawyer, and diplomat.

Alfred Dudley Turner (24 August 1854 – 7 May 1888), an American composer, mainly of chamber music.

Rodney L. Whittemore, Maine State Senator.



  • History of the old towns, Norridgewock and Canaan, comprising Norridgewock, Canaan, Starks, Skowhegan, and Bloomfield, from their early settlement to the year 1849; including a sketch of the Abnakis Indians by Hanson, J. W. (John Wesley), 1823-1901, Published 1849 by the author in Boston. Norridgewock and Canaan by J.W. Hanson
  • East Somerset County register, 1911-1912, Compiled and Published in Auburn, Maine by Chatto and Turner, 1912. East Somerset County
  • Leading business men of Lewiston, Augusta and vicinity, embracing, also, Auburn, Gardiner, Waterville, Oakland, Dexter, Fairfield, Skowhegan, Hallowell, Richmond, Bath, Brunswick, Freeport, Canton, Buckfield, Mechanic Falls, South Paris, Norway, Farmington and Winthrop, with an historical sketch of each place. by William Hale Beckford. Published 1889 by Boston, Mercantile publishing company. Fairfield, pg 229, Skowhegan pg 179
  • Skowhegan on the Kennebec by Louise Helen Coburn, Publisher: The Independent-reporter Press, Skowhegan, Me., 1941. Skowhegan on the Kennebec
  • Embden town of yore: olden times and families there and in adjacent towns by Walker, Ernest George,, Skowhegan, Me.: Independent-Reporter Co., 1929. Emden Town of Yore
  • Embden town of yore: olden times and families there and in adjacent towns by Walker, Ernest George,, Skowhegan, Me.: Independent-Reporter Co., 1929. Emden Town of Yore
  • The Early History of Skowhegan by Lee Granville, Associate Curator, Skowhegan History House & Research Center. First Settlers


Misc Records

  1. East Somerset County register, 1911-1912, Compiled and Published in Auburn, Maine by Chatto and Turner, 1912. <ref>East Somerset County register, 1911-1912, Compiled and Published in Auburn, Maine by Chatto and Turner, 1912.[ East Somerset County]</li> <li id="_note-1">[[#_ref-1|↑]] East Somerset County register, 1911-1912, Compiled and Published in Auburn, Maine by Chatto and Turner, 1912. [ East Somerset County]</li></ol></ref>


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