June 1993 Newsletter of the Androscoggin Historical Society No. 9
AHS OFFICERS ELECTED
At our annual meeting on May 25, 1993, all officers were re-elected: Douglas I. Hodgkin, President; Aubrey B. Palmer, Jr., Vice President; Robert L. Taylor, Executive Secretary; Robert C. Beliveau, Curator; Ingrid Dutch, Recording Secretary; Alma Palmer, Membership Secretary; Susan Sturgis, Treasurer; Willis A. Trafton, Jr., Attorney.
Four new members of the Board of Directors are Franklin Goss, Merton Leavitt, Warren B. Randall, and Arthur (Jack) Vanier. Continuing members of the 1993-1994 Board are Gridley Barrows, Harold Dutch, Leslie M. Eastman, Natalie G. Foye, Eva Labonte, Walter L. Perry, Mary M. Riley, Norman E. Rose, David Rogers, Dwight L. Tripp, Jr., Evelyn White, John White, Leslie M. Wight, Gordon V. Windle, and David C. Young.
Ethelyn Penley became a new Honorary Director, joining Florence Gremley, Geneva A. Kirk, Robert G. Wade, and Leslie M. Wight.
OLDEST HOUSE IN LEWISTON
When the Davis house on Main Street in Lewiston was demolished, the local newspaper settled on the Herrick Tavern, also on Main Street, as the oldest surviving house in the city. However, David Young brings to our attention the following entry from Col. William Garcelon's history of Lewiston (pp. 155-56):
April 1799. This two story house where I now write was raised and the outside finished the same season by Joseph and David Fuller, and George Williams was their apprentice. a barn was built in 1797. These joiners came into town 1798, and worked for Wm Golder and Ezra Randall on their houses.
1800. John Herrick, Esq. built a two story house this year; Nathan Sleeper and Mr. Gove came to town -- were joiners, and built the house. Jedediah Morrill built the first two story house ever built in town, 1795.
An old map identifies Garcelon's house, located at 91 Ferry Road, which therefore has documentary evidence to stake a claim to the title.
COL. WILLIAM GARCELON'S DIARIES
Col. William Garcelon (1786-1872) was a son of William Garcelon and grandson of James Garcelon, who came to Lewiston in March 1776. He was active in town affairs, serving as town clerk, selectman, and representative to the legislature. As a justice of the peace, he was called upon to settle many disputes. As a surveyor, he established many property boundaries, as well as the Lewiston-Greene dividing line. He founded the first Sunday School and the first Temperance Society in the area. He was one of the building committee for the Old South Church in 1818. His son, Dr. Alonzo Garcelon, was Governor of Maine in 1879. In 1865 he wrote a history of Lewiston and a Garcelon genealogy, of which we have a hand-copied transcription. We also have his original diaries of 26 April 1832 - 15 July 1834 and 5 March 1838 - 8 July 1841. The following are from the first year, 1832-1833:
May 16  Saml Litchfield returned me $5 cash which I lent him -- I paid him one bus. wheat + one shilling in money to pay him in full for carrying Alonzo to Newcastle. Afternoon I carad Mary Ann to W. Fryes to board and to attend Miss Mcduffs School. . .
May 17 . . . I was engaged in preparing a plan to lay before the County commission about a new road in Lisbon. [in pencil in margin:] Called the river road from Lewiston to S. W. Bend Bridge
May 18 . . . I was employed in finishing the plan of New road. After noon Met the County Commissioners viz Jos. Sewall + John Miller at Gerrishes Tavern in Lisbon and heard the witnesses both for + against said road. Those opposed to said road had Drs Gorham + Garcelon James Ham, M. Garcelon + E. Little. Those in favour of said road had 20 or 30 witnesses principally from Lewiston. Edwd Little appeared as Councel for Lisbon by Capt. Dwinal as their Agent. I made some remarks for the petitioner but was interrupted 4 or 5 times by said Dwinal but in every instance the Court sustained me + put Dwinal down. [in pencil in margin:] The commission confirm the road I was Agent for the Town
June 1 . . . attended town Meeting at the brick School house at Lewiston corner in which there were various resolutions passed expressive of the feelings of the Inhabitants of said Town on varios subjects relative to the Northeastern Boundary + on the course pursued by the last legislature + the Congress of the U. States
Aug. 5 Sabbath . . . went to our school house to Meeting. . . at 5 Oclock we had a Meeting at the same place to see about setting up a Sabbath school I read the report of the Managers of Sabbath school Union -- + a Letter from Nathl Coffin Secretary for the County of Lincoln, we concluded to commence a school on Sabbath next. + see how many felt interested to come out to school
Aug. 12 . . . we commencd the Sabbath school at our school house, James Garcelon + Noah Litchfield with myself + Thos Hodgkin met with the children.
Aug. 26 I attended the sabbath school there was 15 or 20 scholars, and they recited between 10 + 30 verses in the 5 chapters of St. Mathew.
Sept. 19 Natl Coffin sent a small presant of Sabbath school books to our sabbath school to comenc a library -- I purchased 1 doz testaments 9/. + 80 cents worth of small books
Sept. 21 My birthday I have been spared to close my forty sixth year! O what a wonder -- !
Sept. 24 I went with our Selectmen to Greene to assist them about settling the town line Met at Capt Browns -- the Committee agred upon was T. B Little Isaac S. Small + John Blake --
Sept. 25 was at Greene examing line it rained after noon was at Capt Brown with Committee + Selectmen.
Sept. 29 I then went to Brunswick with Alonzo and left him at the College lower floor No 3 New College. he rooms with Bryce M. Patten.
Oct. 12 . . . I + my wife went to Lewiston corner to visit Miss McDuffies school which closed today. Mary Ann has attended 20 weeks a boarded at Dean Fryes at 4/6 pr week which amounted to $15. which I have paid + taken a recipt. I think the scholars have made good improvement. they appeared quite well I paid the Tuition 1 quarter $2.31 2d qrtr $2.47
Oct. 29 . . . I set out with my compass and apparatus for running land to Assist the Selectmen of Lewiston + Greene to run the town line which had been agreed upon by Thomas B. Little Isaac S. Small + John Blake a committee agreed upon by the Towns to establish the line which was ment by the incorporation of said towns -- I met the said Selectmen at Capt. Solomon Browns in Green at 10/ Oclock we then proceeded to the Northerly corner of Lot 84 as delineated on the plan of Lewiston being Taylors Lot. thence we proceeded S. 44d E about 30 rods to the County road where we set up a Stone. thence same course crosing said road to a pine stub thenc same course crosing an alder swail thenc over a stoney knowl spotting trees that ware near the town line + so on till we crossed the Mine meadow brook when night over took us. We then went out of the woods. Capt S. D. Garcelon + myself put up at Samuel Hatchs in Greene. S. H. Read put up at Samuel Chadbourn, Capt. Benja Allen, Nathaniel Harris + Capt Solomon Brown put up at Jonas Hills in Greene.
Oct. 30 . . . we returned to where we left last night + proceeded to as far as Joseph Larrabees road where night came on we left. myself Read Garcelon + Brown went to Joel Wright + took super -- no dinner today -- Read + myself went to Danil Ames + staid all night.
Oct. 31 . . . we returned to our line + contind it trough to Robert H. Niles corner so called where we put up a stone monument night came on we went to James Weymouth
Nov. 1 . . . put up all night at James Weymouths. Read + Harris were dismised last night + returned home S. D. Garcelon was very sick all night Allen, Brown + Myself went to the Niles corner that we left last night + contined the town line S. 44d E. till it crossed the road leading to the village + till it hit the Plymouth + Pejepscot line run by Joseph Norris Esq. which is the dividing line between Lisbon + Lewiston where we put up a Stone + piled others round it in Capt Starbard small field North of his house. we then returned on the same line spotting the trees + marking stone which lie near the line we run for the established line between Lewiston + Greene, till we came to the road on path of Joseph Larrabees where night overtook us -- we took dinner today at D. Ames S. D. Garcelon was so unwell that he stoped to D. Ames all night. Allen, Brown + myself went to Old W. Pearis + put up all night I paid 25 cts.
Nov. 2 Clear + pleasant. we returned to our line at 8 O.clock in Mornig + contind to retrace our line back marking trees + Stones that the line crosed + setting up monuments on the Min Meadow and returned to the county road about 4 O'clock. P.M. Capt. S. D. Garcelon got better + came to us in the woods + assisted us, we then went to Capt S. Browns + took dinner, where Col S. H. Read arrived while we were eating dinner. about sunset after Capt Garcelon + myself came to Lewiston corner...
Nov. 3 . . . I was at home preparing minuets of town line between Lewiston + Greene
Nov. 12 . . . I went with Alonzo to Brunswick . . . Alonzo went to see Capt Drinkwater about taking their school. he was gone to Portland -- we then went to Brunswick... I took tea with Alonzo at Commons hall. . .
Jan. 31  . . . attended a Temperance meeting -- The board of Advisors were organized by choosing John M. Frye Clerk
Apr. 1 . . . our Annual town Meeting commcd at nine o'clock AM . . . we got a vote to prohibit the selectmen from licensing retailers to sell ardent spirits to be drank in their shops + stores + c.
BRIEF HISTORY OF AUBURN VILLAGE TO 1864
The following is a history reprinted from William F. Stanwood, The Lewiston and Auburn Directory (Lewiston: 1864), pp. 145-148. East Auburn was covered in our February issue. West Auburn and North Auburn will be in a future issue.
The town of Auburn . . . was originally a part of a large territory, which included the present towns of Poland, Minot and Auburn, and was called Bakerstown, from one Baker, who had received a title to the land. This territory was first incorporated as the town of Poland, Feb. 17, 1798, and was surveyed into lots during that and the following year, by Philip Bullen, and a Mr. Ballard. . . . In 1802 Poland was divided, that part now Minot and Auburn receiving the name of Minot, which was again divided in 1842, Auburn being set off. In 1859 the small portion of Danville which lay north of the Little Androscoggin was added. . . .
Auburn Village was first settled by Joseph Welch, about the year 1797. Mr. Welch built his log house on the spot now occupied by the town pump, near Goff's corner. His first "clearing" was made where now is the heart of the village. The second house, being the first framed one, was erected soon after by a Mr. Dillingham . . . [who] also built the first mill, a grist mill, on the foundry privilege. The third was a log house built by Solomon Wood, nearly opposite the house of Edward Little, Esq., which was nicknamed Solomon's Temple. One Michael Little raised a frame for a house on the hill west of Auburn depot . . .
Settlers commenced much earlier in this vicinity than in the village. In June, 1789, Benjamin True, Jabez Levi and Daniel Merrill, from Turner, and Jacob Stevens, from New Gloucester, commenced a settlement of 500 acres of land on Merrill hill. In the spring of 1791, Elias Merrill, of New Gloucester, bought out the proprietors on Merrill hill, except Mr. Stevens; and settled there his five sons, Elias, Jabez, Marshfield, Daniel and James.
At about this time the Pejepscot claimants were threatening the proprietors of this part of the town by prosecuting their title to the land. Mr. Moses Little, of Newburyport, Mass., so long the guardian of our village, was the principal actor in these prosecutions. Massachusetts at last made good the Pejepscot claim; but having previously granted to John Bridgham and sixty-four others a large tract, a part of which (Auburn) was included in this claim, the state was obliged to pay quite a sum to these claimants to quiet the settlers and relieve them from further annoyance.
About the year 1786 one John Nason erected the first mill at Nason's. In 1789 there lived in this neighborhood a Mr. Small, Daniel Moody, Samuel Starbird, Thomas Bailey, Samuel Emerson, Daniel Libby and Benjamin Coombs; also four or five families lived on the south shore of Wilson pond near Young's Corner. The first store in Auburn village was opened by Jacob Read, in a small building which was hauled from Lewiston on the ice, and located on Goff's corner.
This was in 1822. Mr. Read sold to James Goff, Esq., who removed from Stevens' mills with his small stock he then had in trade, and took possession of Goff's Corner in 1823. This situation he retained, as the principal trader of the village, until the great fire of 1855.
The first Congregationalist meeting house, being the first in the village, was built in 1832. At this time Josiah Little's house occupied the present site of the Elm House. James Goff's house and store, Jonathan Raynes's house and cabinet shop, and David Green's house, were situated on the square opposite Phoenix block. David Green's tannery was on the site of Messrs. Miller & Randall's. Josiah Little and Samuel Pickard's store was near the upper end of Phoenix block, and Edward T. Little's law office near the lower end. Elisha Keen's tavern was on the site and was a part of Davis's hotel. John Smith lived in the small house near the meeting house. Edward Little lived in the Little house which he built in 1828, the date of his removal from Lewiston. The same year Josiah and Thomas Little built the brick store (Mr. McKenney's). These buildings and the toll-house, one near Young's hotel, Dr. Cook's, and two in Pleasant Plains, Mr. Manley's and Mr. Nash's, are believed to be the only buildings then within the present limits of the village corporation.
The Academy was