Before the encroachment of pale faced settlers, the entire valley of the Saco and its tributaries was peopled by the numerous Sokokis Indians. These were considered the parent tribe of the Abenaki Nation, which at one time peopled the whole of Maine. One of the most eloquent and statesmanlike of their chiefs once said in council, “We received our lands from the Great Father of Life; we hold only from Him.” Their title was unquestionable and unmolested, they roamed the valley from their village at the Lower Falls (Saco) to the settlement on the great bend, on the intervales of Fryeburg. These were in many respects a noble race of red men, evincing unmistakable evidence of having descended from a higher state, and still retained a fine sense of honor and personal dignity. The Sokokis tribe was once so numerous that they could call nine hundred warriors to arms, but war and pestilence reduced their number to a, mere handful.1 The residence of the sagamores was on Indian Island, above the lower falls. Among the names of the chiefs who dwelt hereabout were those of Capt. Sunday, the two Heagons, and Squando who succeeded Fluellen. For some years these Indians lived with the white settlers in peace and quietness, some of them acquiring a fair knowledge of the English language by their intercourse. When the increasing number of colonists...Read More
Collection: Town History of Fryeburg Maine
A grant of the township of Fryeburg was made to Gen. Joseph Frye by the General Court of Massachusetts for his valiant services in the expedition against Louisburg, and as commander of a regiment at Fort William Henry on Lake George, in 1757. This grant made Mar. 3, 1762, gave Gen. Frye the privilege of selecting a township six miles square, lying on either side of the Saco river between the Great Ossipee and the White Mountains. The territory selected is comprised mainly within the present town. The northwest corner proved to be within the State of New Hampshire, and when this discovery was made the General Court made good the loss by granting an equal number of acres (4,147) on the north, called “Fryeburg Addition,” now the southern half of the town of Stow. A tract was annexed from Brownfield Plantation in 1802, as shown in the following chapter. Title to the lands was scarcely secured when preparations were made for immediate settlement. This same year pioneers came in with their cattle from Concord, N. H., and commenced a clearing and erected log cabins where the village now stands. On the natural meadows here they found an abundance of hay for their cattle. Upon the approach of winter the married men returned, leaving the stock in the care of Nathaniel Merrill, John Stevens and one “Limbo,” a Negro....Read More
Unlike most of the wilderness of Maine, open grass laud were found in Fryeburg, offering excellent grazing pastures, but these intervals were not safe places for erecting homes. Lots were selected on the surrounding highlands and the first rude cabins of the pioneers were soon to be seen here and there dotting the landscape or more closely together at the “Seven Lots” or the Center. The first grist mill in town was built by John Evans on Wall brook near Lovewell’s pond, which privilege he was given together with two lots of land to erect and maintain a mill. This was probably put in as early as 1766, and remained in possession of the family for three generations. I n the great freshet of 1785, it was washed away but rebuilt. ‘Thos. Evans, grandson of John, sold to Isaiah Warren, after which it passed to Moses Richardson, Tarbox and Walker and lastly it was owned by W. H. Tarbox at the time of its destruction last August by the great fire. The clam was washed out some five years ago since which no work had been done here. The first mill on Ballard Brook, then Ingalls Brook was built by Ezra Carter, Col. John Webster and Edmund Shirley in 1794. This consisted of a grist mill below and a saw mill above. In 1802, Uriah Ballard bought the mills...Read More
The large canning factory at Fryeburg village was built by Asa 0. Pike, who rented it to the Portland Packing CO. about thirty years ago. After Mr. Pike’s death his heirs sold the factory to Tobias L. Eastman who carried on the business until the fall of 1905, when he sold to the present owners, H. C. Baxter & Bro. of Brunswick. This factory has a capacity of 1,000,000 cans of corn, requiring the product from 150 acres. The factory at North Fryeburg was built in 1890, by H. C. Baxter & Bro., the present operators. Capacity 1,000,000. M. F. Fogg was the first foreman of this shop, being succeeded by E. W. Jones five years ago. This is operated as the Snow Flake Canning Co., another factory at East Fryeburg, but located in the town of Denmark is operated by this company with G. T. Cook, foreman. This was built by Harnden & Warren about 1893, and sold to Baxter & Brother ten years later. The factory at Lovell is also under the same management. The greenhouses of W. H. Tarbox & Son were built the first in 1900, and two more the following season for raising cucumbers for shipment. The E. W. Burbank Seed Co., Seth W. Fife, proprietor, was established by Mr. Burbank in 1880 in a small way. Mr. Fife became connected with the business...Read More
Rev. Paul Coffin, D. D., of Buxton, visited this region in 1768, on a missionary journey “to Pigwacket” and was elaborately entertained at the mansion of Capt. Henry Young Brown and at the home of John Webster. At these and other places he delivered sermons, being the earliest ordained preacher, except Rev. Timothy Walker of Conway, to preach the gospel in town. The CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH was organized Aug. 28, 1775, and Rev. W m. Fessenden, a graduate of Harvard, was ordained pastor and town minister on October 11th following. His salary was paid in Indian corn at three shillings per bushel and rye at four shillings, for the first six years of his ministry. He was well adapted to his charge and proved popular and useful until his death May 5, 1805. He was succeeded by Rev. Francis L. Whiting whose ministry terminated in 1814. For several years Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Porter, pastor in Conway, supplied this church. Sept. 17, 1823, Rev. Carlton Hurd was ordained pastor, whose successful term of service was terminated by his death Dec. 6, 1855. One year later John Q. Peabody was ordained pastor, and in 1859 was succeeded by Rev. David B. Sewall who remained with the church until 1873, when he removed to the York First Church. Rev. Baman N. Stone was installed pastor June 18, 1874, dismissed May 2, 1877, soon...Read More
The question of a free grammar school in Fryeburg was first agitated by Rev. Wm. Fessenden, D. D., the first gospel minister settled in town. Through his efforts such a school was established in 1791, and was held in a little building at the foot of Pine Hill where fifty pupils were gathered. The year following Rev. Mr. Fessenden, Rev. Nathaniel Porter, David Page and Jas. Osgood of Conway; Moses Ames, Jas. Osgood and Simon Frye of Fryeburg, and the preceptor of the school, Paul Langdon, were made the trustees of Fryeburg Academy by an act passed that year incorporating the institution. The General Court also made a grant of 12,000 acres of land for its support. The first meeting of the board of trustees was held March 3d., when Rev. David Little of Kennebunk, Rev. Paul Coffin of Buxton and others were chosen on the board and the former was elected president. Paul Langdon was retained as preceptor at a salary of £52 annually, the school remaining under his charge during seven years of prosperity. Daniel Weston and John P. Thurston each taught one term in 1799, after which Mr. Langdon returned for a short time. In November Rev. Mr. Fessenden, the tutelary saint of the institution, filled the chair for a few weeks until January 1802, when the services of a young college man were secured. This...Read More
The first appropriation made by the voters of Fryeburg for the maintenance of public schools was in September 1777, at a meeting held for providing for assessing taxes on all the property in town. £60 was voted for schools. The following year but one school was kept in town, and as yet no house erected for its use. A committee was that year appointed “to see how and where a school house shall be built” and the sum of Y250 raised for education. From these meager beginnings there gradually developed a flourishing and elevating though not always harmonious school system. In 1825, fourteen school districts were being attended by 490 pupils, showing an average attendance of thirty-five. Some schools however were attended by twice that number and required the strict surveillance of a stern master and the often application of the rod. About 1830, two stone school houses were erected in the village. That in Number One is now occupied by the village library; that in Number Two was burned, and rebuilt in 1850, the new building serving now as a recitation room of the Academy. A fine new village school house was erected in 1902. During recent years the number of scholars attending the town schools has gradually decreased and the little red school house has passed, superceded by the more elegant white house at the cross roads...Read More
Physicians The earliest skilled physician to locate in Fryeburg was Dr. Joseph Emery who came here from Andover, N. H., in 1778. He was also the earliest merchant. He was followed by Josiah Chase of Canterbury, two years later. Joseph Benton, Stephen Porter, Oliver Griswell, Eliphalet Lyman, a graduate of Yale, removed to Lancaster, N. H., about 1820; Dr. Ruel Barrows of Hebron, as early as 1820; Dr. Ira Towle, from Newfield, and his son, Wm. C. Towle were the next physicians. Dr. D. Lowell Lamson, a native of Conway, N. H., began his practice in Fryeburg where he died after a long and successful practice. Dr. Geo. H. Shedd of Norway, now at North Conway, practiced here. Herman L. Bartlett of Stoneham, now of Norway, succeeded Dr. Shedd. Dr. A. G. Phipps, now at Gorham, N. H.; Dr. Geo. Allen of Stoneham, now at Lovell, and Dr. Arthur L. Ferguson were the succeeding practitioners. Dr. Arthur J. Lougee of Rochester, N. H., a graduate of Dartmouth College and New York University; and Dr. L. W. Atkinson, who removed to the village from North Fryeburg about two years ago, are the present practicing physicians at the village. Dr. Moses Chandler of Concord, N. H., located at the Centre in 1798, and remained here in practice until his death in 1822. He was the only physician to locate at this...Read More
This corporation was chartered March 1, 1887, for the purpose of organizing for protection from fire. On the last day of the month an organizing meeting was held at which John C. Gerry was chosen clerk; Thos. C. Shirley, treasurer; Asa 0. Pike, Wm. Gordon and John Weston, assessors; and A. R. Jenness, F. L. Mark and Seth W. Fife, fire wardens. This action followed the burning of the original and celebrated Oxford House which occurred Feb. 14, preceding. The earliest DESTRUCTIVE FIRE of note was in 1 843, Sept. 15, when “Eastman’s Coffee House,” with two stores and two stables were burned. Twenty years later, Nov. 17, 1863, the store of Major T. C. Wand and Dea. John Evans’ shop on Portland street were burned. In the shop were the last relics of the original Academy which had been removed to the site of the stone school house where it was occupied for school purposes until replaced by the stone structure. It was then converted into the shop and dwelling. The last and most destructive fire in the annals of the town occurred Aug. 31, 1906, when a fire started in the new Oxford House then occupied by one hundred guests. ‘Although the fire started about 10 o’clock A. M., it was soon beyond control and before it could be subdued $150,000 worth of village property and many...Read More
This company was chartered in March 1887, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a horse railroad in the village and to run to the Chautauqua grounds. It was at once organized and $5075 capital stock issued, which was taken by thirty stockholders. The road was installed and equipped that season, opened July 25, but did not run regularly until the following year. This road has remained under the general management of Seth W . Fife, and has been in operation each year since it begun. A total of 12,000 persons are sometimes carried annually during the running season, from June to October. Three miles of road are laid. This is the only horse railroad in the state. Four years ago this road was sold to the White Mountain Paper Co. who sold to the Pater Publishing Co. three years later. A charter granted by the last legislature provides for the extension of this road to Stow and Lovell, and it is probable that one or both of these places will soon be reached by a new line of road to be operated by horses or electricity. The plan for a road to Lovell was contemplated by the original promoters, but was not executed before disposing of the...Read More
Fryeburg Grange, No. 197, was organized at Fryeburg Centre in Feb. 1888, with 18 charter members. B. Walker McKeen was chosen the first master, and has been followed in this capacity by John F. Charles, A. P. Gordon, John S. Ames, David Chandler, E. C. Buzzell, I. A. Walker, Simeon Charles and A. W. McKeen. This order now numbers fiftyeight members. The leading officers chosen for 1907 are A. W. McKeen, master; Leon D. Charles, overseer; Mehitable McAllister, lecturer; Rosina McKeen, chaplin, Simeon Charles, treasurer, and I. A. McKeen,...Read More
Clerks Richard Kimball, 1777-78; Capt. Joseph Frye, Jr.,1779- Paul Langdon, 1786-91; Joseph F. Swan, 1792-98; Wm. Russell, 1799-1801; Paul Langdon, 1802; John McMillan, 1803-06; Jos. F. Swan, 1807-08; Wm. Russell, 7 809-11; Paul Langdon, 1812; Wm. Russell, 1813; P. Langdon,1814; Wm. Russell 1815, Dec. 4, died; N. G. Jewett, Dec. 4, 1815; James Osgood, 1816-18; Joseph F. Swan, 1819; Thomas Webster, 1820-22; Asa Charles, 1823-30; Andrew McMillan, 1831-32; Charles Abbott, 1833-43; Joseph Chandler, 1844-56; Marshall Walker, 1857-64; Thos. S. McIntire, 1865-74; 1). Lowell Lamson , 1875; T. S. McIntire, 1876-86; Norman Charles, 1887-1907. Treasurers Jas. 0. McMillan, 1850-56; Geo. B. Barrows, 1857-59; A. H. Walker, 1860-61; Timothy C. Ward, 7.862; Henry Hyde smith, 1863-66; T. C. Ward, 1867-68; John Locke, 1869-91; .) , h’. Merrill, 1892-1907. Selectmen and Assessors 1850-Edw. L. Osgood, H. D. E. Walker, James Walker. 1851-Edw. L. Osgood, H. D. E. Walker, Simeon C. Wiley. 1852-Asa Charles, S. C. Hobbs, Benj. W. McKeen. 1853-54-Asa Charles, H. D. E. Hutchins, S. C. Wiley. 1855-Edw. L. Osgood, 13. D. E. Hutchins, S. C. Wiley. 1856-Edw. L. Osgood, S. C. Wiley, James Walker. 1857-A sa Charles, James Walker, S. A. Bradley. 1858-Asa Charles, S. A. Bradley, Henry G. Walker. 1859-Asa Charles, H. G. Walker, James Walker. 1860-Geo. B. Barrows, H. 13. Walker, Caleb Frye. 1861-Geo. B. Barrows, Peter Charles, Enoch W. Wiley. 1862-64-Asa Charles, Henry G. Walker, Caleb Frye....Read More
Undoubtedly the greater number of the first arrivals in Fryeburg had seen service in the French and Indian wars, some of whom enlisted in the Patriot service at the breaking out of the Revolution. Of this number was General Frye, the grantee under whom many of his townsmen had fought at Fort William Henry and other early engagements. At the breaking out of the Revolution he was called to Cambridge to command a patriot force, but soon after returned to his home town. Many volunteers proceeded to Portland and other points where they entered the Patriot lines, some of whom never returned, while others for their heroic conduct and courage rose to the rank of commanders and returned with titles by which they were afterwards known. In 1780 over £17,000, probably paper, and £108 of “hard money” was voted for this cause, together with 10,515 pounds of beef, and seven men to fill the ranks of the depleted Continental Army. During that summer six men were sent to the aid of Falmouth, two men for six months and two men for three months were hired for service in the Continental Army. This town has ever responded readily and liberally of her best men. For a period of several decades prior to the Civil war, the able bodied men of the town were regularly trained on the “Muster Grounds,” while...Read More
Grover Post, No. 126, was organized by sixteen veterans of Fryeburg and Lovell on Dec. 24, 1884. Wm. C. Towle was chosen first commander, Tobias L. Eastman and others completing the staff, the itemized list of which was burned in the recent fire. The membership increased until at one time there were sixty-nine members. For about two years the meetings were alternated between this village and Lovell, which arrangement was followed by the formation of Parker Post at the latter village. Grover Post now numbers 35 members. Grover Circle, No. 11, was formed by the ladies as a relief corps. The present officers of the post are E. J. Brackett, P. C.; Orrin R. Barrows, S. V. C.; J. H. Johnson, J. V. C.; Henry Andrews, Q. M., and T. L. Eastman,...Read More
Dea. Richard Eastman operated a ferry for many years near the point where the toll bridge was erected in 1870; this bridge is 76 feet long, being the shortest of the seven bridges which span the Saco and Canal. The first bridge built was at Swan’s Falls about 1780. The oldest now in use is Weston’s bridge, 250 feet long, built in 1844, according to Wm. Gordon. Canal bridge 272 feet long, was built in 1846; Walker’s bridge 164 feet, in 1848; Charles river bridge (a tributary) 87 feet, in 1856; Island bridge, 110 feet, in 1862; Hemlock bridge 116, in 1867; the Toll bridge (now free), in 1870; and the new iron bridge at the Harbor 80 feet, built in 1894. All except the latter are covered. The canal was begun in 1812, when a narrow channel was cut. The freshet of 1820 greatly widened the channel, reduced the length of the Saco in town from 36 miles to 24 miles, and draining an extensive area of valuable arable land. Fryeburg post office was established Jan. 1, 1798, with Moses Ames, postmaster. The post office at the Center was established Feb. 19, 1833, Henry G. Farrington, P. M. West Fryeburg post office was established in July 1887, Mrs. E. P. Hutchins,...Read More
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