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.
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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 which he operated until about 1844, when he sold to Col. David Webster. Col. Webster tore out the old mills and built two separate buildings. In 1858, the property passed from his heirs to Osborn Charles, and about ten years later to Samuel B. Locke of Paris. Mr. Locke rebuilt and enlarged the mills, putting in the first circular saw. His sons were also interested in this property, Franklin Locke being the last owner of this name. The mills were burned and the privilege `old by the latter Jan. 5, 1893 to Edw. F. McIntire, the present owner. Mr. McIntire rebuilt the saw mill in the spring of 1894, this was burned June 7, 1903, and immediately rebuilt. This is a long and short lumber mill and the only water mill now in town.
At Swan’s Falls, Abraham Andrews put in a saw mill early in the last century, but this was washed away by freshet before gotten into operation. This excellent privilege now owned by a syndicate of Fryeburg’s businessmen who contemplate erecting a plant for furnishing electricity for power and lighting.
A mill was erected and operated at the Harbor on the outlet to Kezar Pond, by Wm. Russell, Esq., for sawing and grinding. This mill was operated for many years by Samuel Thompson, whose heirs sold the privilege to the Saco Water Power Co.
A new power snow roller has been recently invented and patented in the U. S. and Canada by Edw. F. McIntire, the mill proprietor. This Traction Engine is an extremely practical invention, founded on the ordinary roller used in these parts, but so fitted up and connected with a high power gasoline or petroleum engine as to be operated on the principal of an automobile. The roller covers an 11 foot roadbed and weighs four tons. By a special arrangement of cams slipping is prevented, while the projections are kept free from clogging.