Trails to the Past-Franklin County Maine-index



 Franklin County




Franklin County was the home of the Norridgewock tribe of the Abnaki nation of Indians. Their principal village was near where Sandy River enters the Kennebec. There was a village of these people at Farmington Falls; another was at Chesterville Centre, on the Little Norridgewock. Though the tribe removed to Canada before settlements were made in the county by white people, yet a few straggling families seem to have made different points in Franklin their homes for many years later, having some intercourse with the hunters, trappers and early settlers. The first of these found on Sandy River the camp of one of these secluded aborigines named Pierpole. He assisted them with valuable information in regard to their new borne; but not receiving the sympathy that was desirable from his new neighbors, and being Roman Catholic in religion, he migrated to Canada with his family, carrying with him the dead body of his child.

By the reports of hunters, the existence of the "Great Interval" on Sandy River became known in certain quarters, creating a large degree of interest. In 1776, therefore, five enterprising young men from Topsham explored the region with a view to settlement. Their names were Stephen Titconib, Robert Gower, James Henry, Robert Alexander and James MacDonnel. They selected lots in the centre of the "Great Interval," measuring them off with strings of basswood bark. No family, however, moved into the place till 1781. Mr. Titcomb, intending to become the first settler with a family in the place, started with them and his household goods in the autumn of 1780, but was blocked up by snow at the last house on the route, situated in Readfield. When spring opened be went to his clearing and put in his crop; then, returning for his family, he met Joseph Brown and Nathaniel Davis on the way with their families. Settlers soon followed from each state of New England, excepting, perhaps, Vermont. The first mill in the county was on Davis's Mill Stream, now called Temple Mill Stream, near the centre of Farmington.

Many Revolutionary soldiers were among the early settlers. Enoch Craig was one of these, and became the founder of one of the families of Franklin County. In 1789, he married Dorothy Sterling, of one of the leading pioneer families, they being obliged to make a journey to Hallowell in order to be legally united. Within ten years of the wintering of the first families in Farmington, the Sandy River Valley, through most of its extent had become the seat of a flourishing community; and this town alone contained 85 families.
Source: Varney, George J., Gazetteer of the State of Maine.  Boston: B. B. Russell, 1886.


Cities and Towns

Carrabassett Valley
Coplin Plantation
Dallas Plantation
New Sharon
New Vineyard
Rangeley Plantation
Sandy River Plantation


Surrounding Counties
Somerset County , Maine - northeast
Kennebec County, Maine - southeast
Androscoggin County, Maine - south
Oxford County, Maine - southwest


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