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The Ancient Dominions of Maine

The roots of the Davistown Museum lie in the conjunction of the exploration of old barns, cellars, and workshops beginning in 1970 during the search for old (useful) woodworking tools by the Jonesport Wood Co. (West Jonesport, Maine 1970 – 83), and the subsequent purchase of the Parmenter General Store, now the Liberty Tool Co., in Liberty Village (1976). Historical questions immediately arose: who were the artisans who left their tools in that ancient Columbia Falls barn (1971), one of our first early tool location stashes, and what was the context of their use (shipbuilding on the Pleasant River in the late 18th and first half of the 19th century). Later, from 1976 to the present, the many visits to Waldo, Knox, and Lincoln County 19th century (or earlier) farm or boat workshops, and soon many more along the coast of New England, reinforced our quest for more information about Maine and New England maritime and industrial history. Who were the people who lived in these old houses? What did they do? How did they survive the long cold Maine winters before global climate change?  What did they manufacture at their water mills or downstream (from Liberty and Montville) boat shops and ship yards?  What vessels did they build, when and where did they sail? What cargoes did they carry? What forest products were milled in the villages of the Norumbega back country? Most importantly, what were the tools they used to successfully settle the New England wilderness, and how and where were they made? And always the intrusion of a compelling unanswered question: who were those First Nation indigenous inhabitants of Maine’s central coast hill country, called Wawenocs by 19th century historians; and where did they go?

It soon became evident that the modest selection and content of the local town histories of Liberty, Montville, Jonesport, Beals Island, Columbia Falls, or the larger communities of Thomaston, Rockland, Camden, Union, Boothbay, and Wiscasset were only a starting point for a more detailed exploration of the local and regional history of coastal Maine. The search for answers to our many questions soon led to two realizations: that local history could not be understood without an understanding of the prior history of not only First Nation indigenous peoples and the first European visitors and settlers of ancient Pemaquid, but also of the interrelationship of the history of the Davistown Plantation settlers with the broader scope of the maritime and industrial history of Maine and New England. Secondly, our interests immediately focused on hand tools as the most interesting and useful of material cultural artifacts (accidental durable remnants) for the exploration of the palimpsests (layers) of local, regional, and New England history – The Phenomenology of Tools as it were. The first two volumes recounting our journey through the labyrinths of local and regional history are these modest chapters on the local history of the Davistown Plantation (The Davistown History Project) and ancient Pemaquid. The major focus of our attention, aside from our inquiry into Native American history (Volume 4 of the website), has been the phenomenology of hand tools and what they tell us about our cultural history (Volumes 6 - 11 of our website). Following our detailed examination of the origins and roles of hand tools in New England history, Volume 12 is our catalog of art on loan or in the permanent collection; Volume 13 is our Museum educational programs. The later volumes of this website on environmental history (Changes in the Land) explore the impact of our pyrotechnical society on the environment. The chapters that follow this section in the website series, Radnet Nuclear Information on the Internet, are the ancient archives of the predecessor to the Davistown Museum, the Center for Biological Monitoring.

History of the Davistown Plantation (Volume 2)

Table of Contents

Davistown History Project Questions
History as a Palimpsest
Historical chronology for the Davistown Plantation, Liberty and Montville
Historical Context of The Settlement of Davistown
Origin of the Davistown Plantation
Early history of the Davistown Plantation
The Eccentric Hermit of Davistown
The Davistown Resolves
Davis Town (Montville) 1800 Census
The boomtown years of the Davistown Plantation (1820-1850)
Historical register for Liberty and Montville
Census numbers for Montville and Liberty
The toolmakers of the Davistown Plantation, Liberty and Montville
The artisans and tradesmen of the Davistown Plantation, Liberty and Montville
Information files - Davistown Plantation region
Annals of Warren
Henry Knox Papers: Sawyer's Agreement of Oct. 31, 1800
The Most Important Voyage You Never Heard Of
Information files - manufacturing history
Union business directory
Manufactures in Union
Blast Furnaces, Charcoal Kilns, Lime Kilns, Katahdin Iron Works
Lumbering in Maine
The Davistown History Project Bibliography
The Davistown History Project - Help Wanted

One of the founding missions of The Davistown Museum is preserving and enlarging community awareness of the history of the Davistown Plantation, later the hill country towns of Liberty and Montville.  An understanding of this community history begins with town histories and other writings noted below devoted to this subject.  The written and oral traditions of families, villages and their artisans and tradesmen form the core and are the basis of community awareness and continued recording of this history.  Liberty and Montville's local historical societies, historians, raconteurs and senior citizens have a collective remembrance that is essential to the reconstruction of this history.  In so far as The Davistown Museum is successful in this mission, it is dependent on community support and participation.  Those who best understand the roots of local history are the members of the families who have lived this history.  The history of the Davistown Plantation can only emerge from a collective effort of recording and perpetuating this oral and written tradition.

Davistown History Project Questions

The essence of the Davistown History Project is the process of trying to answer a series of questions.  Expanding awareness of local history means these questions are never fully answered.  History does not have the stasis of a mathematical equation.  Whatever history is constructed can be deconstructed or altered when new information becomes available.

History as a Palimpsest
(A parchment, tablet, etc. that has been written upon or inscribed two or three times, the previous text or texts having been imperfectly erased and remaining, therefore, still partly visible. Webster's World Dictionary)

The early roads used by the first settlers to bring cordwood, sawn lumber, staves and lime casks to the market port of Belfast follow ancient trails and pathways used by others who preceded European settlement in the Davistown Plantation.  Exploring the palimpsest that is the Davistown Plantation means peeling back layers of history and peering back in time to the ancient dominions of Maine.  The maritime culture of the first wave of settlers in Davistown was, in fact, a third wave of colonial settlers moving inland from the immediate coast of Maine.  This third wave succeeded a second wave of settlement along the edges of the Maine coast from 1710 - 1765, which was kept in check by the Indian Wars and the dangers of settling at inland locations.  The first wave of European settlement in Maine began with the 1607 settlement of Fort Popham at the mouth of the Kennebec River.  This flourishing first colonial dominion of Maine was terminated by the Indian Wars, which swept New England after 1675.  The Indian Wars of 1676 - 1759 ended this first dominion of colonial Maine and restricted the second wave of resettlement to Maine's immediate coast until the defeat of the French at Quebec in 1759, and the ensuing treaty of 1763, finally opened up the state of Maine to the great migration of the post-Revolutionary War era.

The startling presence of another culture, which flourished in coastal Maine just prior to European settlement of New England, is the most compelling of all palimpsests in the history of the Davistown Plantation.  Is it some historical coincidence that the domain of the Native American confederacy of Mawooshen, which stretched from Schoodic Point in Frenchman's Bay, west and south to Massachusetts Bay, exactly matches the cartography of the region of Norumbega on European maps? Rosier, the chronicler of George Waymouth's 1605 voyage to Pemaquid and the St. Georges River, recounted the knowledge of captive natives of this confederacy, the story of which was later published by Samuel Purchas in his Purchas, his Pilgrimage of 1613.

The ancient dominions of those who first lived in coastal Maine prior to first European settlements give rise to a whole other set of questions.  Who lived in this region before the English established the first settlements at Pemaquid, Monhegan, Newagen, Fort Popham, Sheepscot and elsewhere?  Where and how did they live?  Did they practice any form of horticulture?  If so, what were the inland locations of their gardens?  What factors led to their sudden departure?  What archaeological sites attest to their presence on the Maine coast?  How long did they live here, and who preceded them?  What were the natural resources that were most important to these earlier inhabitants of the Maine shoreline?  Where were they located; How were they utilized?  How did they differ in language and lifestyle from the Native Americans living in the eastern sections of the maritime peninsula?  Where was this cultural dividing line?  Did this invisible barrier disappear along with the native communities who lived here?  Did Native Americans from the eastern maritime peninsula  migrate to this area when the original inhabitants of the central Maine coast dispersed?

The history of the Davistown Plantation is a palimpsest of artifacts and events in time.  Its presence beacons us to go back, not just to the boomtown years before the Civil War or to the milieu of the first settlers, but to a prior era when before 1760, Davistown was Indian country.  It took European explorers and settlers two centuries to clear the land of the Native American communities who were its original inhabitants.  What happened in these two centuries is equally important and as intriguing as what happened in Davistown in the two centuries that followed.

Historical chronology for the Davistown Plantation, Liberty and Montville

Historical Context of The Settlement of Davistown

When the first European settlers arrived at Plymouth in 1620 they were a prelude to a great migration of Puritan dissenters who came to settle the Massachusetts Bay Colony beginning in 1630.  Both before and immediately after 1620 the Maine coast became a destination of English fishermen and French traders, some of whom already resided in isolated coastal communities in the Penobscot region (English) and east of the Penobscot River (French.)  Puritans seeking trade opportunities also flocked to Maine after 1620, establishing colonial trading posts.  What was a trickle of settlers to Maine in the early 17th century became a flood after 1630 and by 1675 the population of coastal Maine during the first colonial dominion was in excess of 10,000 people.  (Map of European migrations.)

During this first colonial dominion of 1620 - 1675, there were no documented European settlers in the Norumbega backcountry, including Davistown.  Undoubtedly, some of the early coastal residents followed the Sheepscot, Medomak and St. George rivers up to their watersheds in the Davistown Plantation to hunt and to trap following the great pandemic that eliminated most of the Wawenoc Indians from the coastal regions between the Kennebec and the Penobscot rivers.  To what extent surviving bands of Wawenocs or newly arrived bands of Etchemins served to deter hunting and trapping in Davistown is not known and probably will never be known.

The end of the first colonial dominion (1620 -1676) marks the beginning of a second great diaspora.  The advent of King Philip's War and the violence which followed dispersed all of the colonial settlers in Maine west of Wells with the possible exception of the island dwellers on Monhegan.  What ensued was an interregnum in Maine history.  Only after 1710 did small numbers of European settlers begin moving back into the coastal areas.  By 1714, small communities had been reestablished in many locations along the central Maine coast; the nearest one to the Davistown Plantation was Warren, downstream at the head of the tide on St. George River.  During the mid-18th century, Warren, Waldoboro, Thomaston, Wiscasset, Boothbay and Damariscotta became important shipbuilding centers.  These communities first exploited the timber immediately along the shore, which was rapidly depleted.  The shipbuilding industry then became dependent on more inland timber resources.  One of the first reports of timber being harvested from the Davistown Plantation involved the cutting of masts for the King's ships in Montville circa 1720(?).  These huge masts were then transported from Montville to Waldoboro by oxen, following the Indian trail from the outlet of Lake St. George in Liberty to the head of the harbor in Waldoboro.  Today's route 220 from Liberty to Waldoboro follows what appears to be this same route to the sea.  The Indian wars, which continued until the 1750s, prevented the systematic harvesting of the rich timber resources of inland areas until after 1760.

Origin of the Davistown Plantation

The history of the Davistown Plantation originates with the proprietary claims issued by the Council for New England under Charles I (1629 - 1632).  Brigadier General Samuel Waldo and his partners eventually obtained the English Letters of Patent for the Waldo Patent, which included the Davistown Plantation, one of the three major proprietary patents issued for what is now coastal Maine.  Competing land claims and the uncertainty of clear title combined with the post-Revolutionary War land rush to encourage the first English settlers to begin reclaiming the backcountry of the Waldo patent once occupied by the Wawenoc Indians of Norumbega.  The first English settlers started coming to the Davistown Plantation in 1780.  In 1785, the Massachusetts General Court reaffirmed the proprietary entitlements of the Plymouth Patent and of General Henry Knox and his associates.  This created a conflict between settlers moving into the Davistown and other backcountry communities hoping for free land, and the proprietors wishing to extract as much money from the sale of their titles as they could.  The three decades which followed the resettlement of the Davistown Plantation by coastal Maine and southern New England residents constitute a period of unrest and conflict over the proprietor's land patents culminating in the White Indian attack at the Marshall Springs Hotel in Montville in 1815.  During this time, the Davistown Plantation evolved into the boomtowns of Montville and Liberty.

The essence of the turmoil and conflicts which were a component of the early settlement of the Davistown Plantation are explored in detail in Alan Taylor's Liberty Men and the Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820.  Taylor succinctly summarizes the issue of land claims that in the years after the Revolutionary War provided the context of the rush to settle the Maine frontier by land hungry residents of southern New England.  "Three major proprietary claims, based on letters patent issued between 1629 and 1632 by the Council for New England of Charles I, covered almost all of mid-Maine.  On the west the Pejepscot Proprietors claimed the Pejepscot Patent: the land four miles back on both sides of the Androscoggin River from its mouth to its 'uppermost falls.'  In the center the Kennebeck Proprietors (also known as the Plymouth Company) laid claim to the Plymouth Patent: about three million acres located fifteen miles deep on each side of the Kennebec, Maine's central and most important river.  To the east, Brigadier General Samuel Waldo and two companies of his partners, the Ten Proprietors and the Twenty Associates, claimed the Waldo Patent: about one million acres located between the Medomac and Penobscot rivers.  The Great Proprietors did not possess clear legal title to the lands they claimed.  Drafted in England by lawyers who had never seen the Eastern Country, the three major patents were vague and overlapping.  Worse still, the three major patents were also in conflict with ten smaller proprietary claims: the royal Pemaquid Patent and nine claims based on Indian deeds."  (pg. 12-13).

Taylor's historical survey is the most important introduction to the history of Davistown; it provides essential background for understanding the context of the later histories of Liberty and Montville.  The other histories containing information about the early days of Liberty and Montville are: A brief history of the town of Liberty, Celebration of Centennial Anniversary, Aug. 25, 1927,Hurwitz, 1975, History of Liberty, Maine 1827 - 1975 and Tom Donahue, 1996, The Kingdom in Montville, Maine: A Technological Diary 1789 - 1994.

Taylor cites a Henry Knox comment to illustrate the unspoken tradition of a search for economic gain which stretches back to hopes and motivations of the first English (and Spanish, French and Basque) merchant adventurers who visited the Maine coast in the 16th century: "No part of the United States affords such solid grounds of profit to capitalists, as the District of Maine. -- General Henry Knox, November 11, 1795." (pg. 11).  Needless to say, settlers coming to Maine from southern New England also shared Knox's hope for the opportunity of economic enrichment.

Taylor uses the reminiscences of Benjamin Tibbetts of Liberty, Maine, printed in the Belfast Republican on November 20, 1885, when he was 100 years old, as an introduction to his study of the unrest and backcountry resistance that characterized the rapid settlement of the mid-Maine coast, including backcountry towns like Liberty and Montville.  Taylor summarizes the themes in his historical survey of the settlement of the Maine frontier: "This study examines four phenomena that converged in Benjamin Tibbetts' life: migration to the frontier, labor applied to wilderness land to create property, a spiritual search for divine meaning, and organized resistance to the Great Proprietors.  Widespread in mid-Maine, the settlers' resistance began in the 1760s, lapsed when the Revolution seemed to sweep away the proprietary claims, and revived in the 1790s, after the proprietors reasserted their demands for payment.  Initially the insurgents called themselves Liberty Men or Sons of Liberty: defenders of a Revolution betrayed by America's great men.  But their foes called them White Indians, on account of their disguises and their supposed savagery." (pg. 3).

Tibbetts was one of the last survivors of the initial wave of settlers that had moved into the Davistown Plantation; he moved to Liberty in 1815, had 12 children, 50 grandchildren and was famous for his prowess as an ax man and a farmer.  Tibbetts participated in the famous White Indian raid of September 5, 1815 at the Marshall Springs Hotel in Montville against the proprietor Joseph H. Pierce, Jr.  "The surge of settlers into the backcountry occurred at the same time that the American Revolution encouraged heightened aspirations among the common folk.  The Revolution did not cease in 1783 when the Treaty of Paris ended the war with Great Britain; during the 1780s and 1790s the diverse people who had united against British rule fell out over the social and political implications of their Revolution. ... Benjamin Tibbetts was but one among thousands throughout the American backcountry who combined frontier migration, hard labor, evangelical seeking, and property contention."  (pg. 5).

Taylor continues "Wild Yankees, Anti-Renters, Whiskey Rebels, Regulators, and Liberty Men believed in a different American Revolution, one meant to protect small producers from the moneyed men who did not live by their own labor, but instead, preyed on the many who did."  (pg. 6).

Taylor then summarizes the objectives of the Great Proprietors whose interests are symbolized by Henry Knox's quote above.  "The Great Proprietors, in contrast, insisted that America's commercial development required the emergence of a more efficient, complex, and hierarchical social order where property would become concentrated in the hands of the capitalists who best understood how to employ it to create more property."  (pg. 8).

The summary of Taylor's introduction puts the origins of the Davistown Plantation in the proper national historic context. "In Maine, the process of frontier settlement intersected with America's Revolutionary settlement: the resolution of whose values and whose property interests would be legitimated by the Revolution.  In the immediate wake of the war, thousands migrated from southern New England to mid-Maine in pursuit of autonomy as small farmers.  In their new settlements they gradually acquired improved property in the land, and they developed evangelical meetings hostile to the commonwealth's Congregational establishment.  When, in the 1780s and 1790s, the proprietors revived their dormant land claims, the settlers exploited their distance from political and religious authority to organize a resistance that safeguarded their new property.  But the Great Proprietors were committed to a more hierarchical and paternalistic world view.  They worried that the combination of frontier migration, evangelical religion, and the recent Revolution had produced a centrifugal force that would tear social order apart.  As was the case throughout the American backcountry between 1790 and 1820, the conflict between agrarian and elite ways of defining the Revolution produced a deadlock that became an opportunity for a new breed of political leaders to gain power; Jeffersonian politicians reframed political ideology in a manner that permitted compromise legislation and defused the confrontation.  The conflict between Great Proprietors and Liberty Men and the ultimate triumph of the Jeffersonians were symptomatic of a more widespread social and political transformation: the making of a liberal social order."  (pg. 9-10).

Taylor's maps are an important component of his text along with his many footnotes and extensive bibliography; the one on page 27 differentiates the backcountry communities such as Davistown from the communities along the shore that were settled prior to the Revolutionary War.  The focus of Taylor's history centers on the Norumbega region, especially the communities west of the Kennebec River as well as eastward to the Penobscot and ranging as far north as Frankfort, Clinton, Norridgewock and Industry and as far west as the Androscoggin River in Lewiston.  Of historical interest, and also potentially confusing is the fact that many communities, including Liberty and Montville, had different names in 1800 than they have now.  The following is a selection of some of the more important towns in the Revolutionary period of the Maine frontier, with the current name being followed by the 1800 designation:  Albion (Freetown), Brooks (Bryant Ridge), China (Harlem), Freedom (Beaver Hill/Smithtown), Jefferson (Balltown), Liberty/Montville (Davistown), Lincolnville (Ducktrap), Morrill (Great Meadow Settlement), Mount Vernon (Washington Plantation), Northport (New Canaan), Palermo (Sheepscot Great Pond Settlement, Claytown), Wiscasset (Pownalborough), Searsmont (Quantabacook), Sommerville (Patricktown), Swanville (Lee Plantation), Troy (Bridgestown), Unity (Twenty Five Mile Pond Settlement), Whitefield (Balltown/ Hunts Meadow) and Windsor (Malta, New Waterford, and Pinhook).  Morrill, Searsmont and Belmont were all part of a large plantation called Green Plantation.

Early history of the Davistown Plantation

In the History of Liberty, published in 1975 by the Liberty Historical Society, the early history of Liberty, its grants and the Waldo indenture and agreement between the heirs of General Samuel Waldo are briefly summarized.  Alfred Hurwitz, the author of this history, notes that James Davis from Massachusetts was one of the first settlers of Montville, arriving in 1780.  He settled with his wife and 12-year-old son, William, in Davistown, probably near the current location of the Maritime Energy facility on Route 3.  Davis was a Presbyterian Elder, a Liberty Man and a rebel.  He wrote with Samuel Ely in 1796 The Davistown Resolves, a pamphlet calling for unified resistance against Henry Knox and the Great Proprietors.  He is referred to in the Henry Knox Papers as "Old Davis".  His son Elias was the first child born in the settlement, in December, 1781.

The History of Liberty contains little additional information about the early settlers, it focuses on the formation of Montville in 1807, and the incorporation of Liberty in 1827.  Donahue's The Kingdom in Montville, Maine provides additional information about Montville, which constituted the northern half of the Davistown Plantation.  Donahue notes that Montville was settled in 1778, had 6 families by 1790 and 50 families by 1800.  Smith Cram, one of the first settlers in the village known as the Kingdom, built his mill in 1798-99.  Ezechial Knowlton and others may have had mills running by 1797.

The rapid settlement of Davistown resulted in the establishment of numerous villages possibly beginning with the Kingdom and then soon including Center Montville, South Montville, Liberty Village, McFarland's Corner, Sherman's Corner, Peavytown and South Liberty.  The flood of settlers into Davistown and other backcountry coastal towns came as a result of a lack of land in southern New England and a timber shortage, which had reached critical proportions before and during the Revolutionary War.  The wealth of timber resources and the hope for free land (an illusion) in Maine, provided the impetus for rapid population increase in the late 18th and first three decades of the 19th century.

The result was a booming economy, with rapid construction of coastal ports and towns.  Liberty and Montville appeared to play a key role in the construction of the many brick buildings in Portland and Boston by being the center of production for the wooden lime casks necessary to carry lime from the lime kilns of Thomaston to be used for the production of mortar.  This lime was transported south to the coastal cities of southern New England and the midAtlantic states by a specially designed variation of the ubiquitous "coasters" built in the many shipyards of coastal Maine.  The lime cask production utilized the south branch of the Davistown Rd. to Searsmont Center.  Other products of Liberty and Montville's thriving community of coopers were shipped to Belfast by the north branch of the Davistown Rd.  These commercial activities help explain why in Joseph Williamson'sHistory of the City of Belfast, the first road leading out of town in 1790 was called the Davistown Road.  The organization of The Davistown History Project is in part an attempt to answer the question: why would such a road be constructed at such an early date?  What was in Davistown in 1790 that required a road to Belfast, or roads to Waldoboro, Union or Thomaston?  Clearly the booming economy of coastal Maine depended on the vast timber resources of areas such as Davistown.  The rapidity of road construction is a testament of the importance of timber in the early days of Davistown.  Less than 100 years after the first settlers came to Davistown, the land was cleared of forest and the local economy was in rapid decline.

The Eccentric Hermit of Davistown.

Mike Beaudry

In Come Spring, the romantic novel about the settlement of Union, Ben Ames Williams describes an odd eccentric, hermit from the area of Davistown (Montville) that Williams calls "I'm Davis."He has a long white beard and hair, dresses in animal skins, hunts and traps from the Kennebec to Penobscot Bay.His home is a hovel dug out of the stream bank at the headwaters of the Georges River, beyond Quantabacook and Ruffingham Meadow.

The question is often asked, " Did such a character actually exist, or was this merely the whimsical creation of Williams?"

The answer is that the "I'm Davis" character is rooted in historical fact, but that the character was based not upon a single person, but the merging of two very peculiar people that lived in the early settlement of Davistown.

The first was a person that went by the name "Davis".Cyrus Eaton, in the Annals of Warren, describes him as follows:

1784. About this time, began to appear in the woods, and occasionally visit the settlement, a man by the name of Davis, one of those singular characters that sometimes vary the picture of life; a sort of "Leatherstocking" of the wilderness, hovering on the borders between civilized and savage society.He lived a solitary life in the woods, clad in skins, and subsisting on the products of the chase, which formed his sole occupation.He had no intercourse with the settlers, except an occasional visit for the purpose of exchanging furs for ammunition and other necessities; but his path was frequently crossed by the hunter, who was oftentimes entertained by him with such refreshments as his camp afforded.On these occasions, he was hospitable and social, talked of his dangers and accidents by "flood and field, he hair-breadth 'scapes," and causeless frights, with apparent satisfaction; but it was evident his heart was not with his guests - he sighed not at their departure, and returned with pleasure to the society of his own feelings.His grotesque appearance, his hairy costume, his beard descending to his breast, and his white locks streaming to the wind, excited the curiosity of children, and rendered his coming a memorable event.Nor was his behaviour more free from whimsical peculiarities, than his dress.One of these was that of bowing, with great reverence, when favored with the sight of bread.Whether this proceeded from religious, or other motives, his distant and taciturn manners rendered it difficult to determine.He shifted his quarters to various places, as convenience required, and followed hunting and trapping from the Kennebec to the Penobscot.From his long residence in the present town of Montville, that place, before its incorporation was called Davistown.Of his early history, and the time of his coming hither, nothing is known.Rumor ascribed his eccentricity to disappointment in love, and it was said that he had one daughter in the western country to whom he contrived to remit the proceeds of his hunting.On one occasion, after a hunting tour of some days, he returned to his camp, kindled a fire, and sat down to his lonely musings; when suddenly startled by the most piercing cries proceeding from his fire.At first he could ascribe it to nothing but the foul fiend himself; but a huge tortoise, crawling out from the ashes in which he had made his bed, soon relieved his apprehensions, and afforded him a delicious repast.At another time, he was confined to his camp near starving.In this time, his traps were found by a hunting party from Warren, and, from their neglected appearance, being supposed to be abandoned, were carried off.The owner, however, recovering in season to observe the tracks of the party, pursued them, and recovered his property.He continued this kind of life for a long period, when, his hunting range being gradually curtailed by the settlement of the country, and his natural powers abating, he was at last compelled to receive support from his fellowmen, and is said to have died a pauper, in one of the towns that had sprung up beneath his eyes on the borders of the Penobscot.

Eaton, however, introduces us to a second character that filled the eccentric void left by Davis; and who Williams merged with Davis to create his character "I'm Davis."

But the majestic groves and lofty peaks of Montville, were not slow to attracting another kindred spirit, to enjoy its primeval society, before it should all be transformed by the sturdy hand of advancing industry.Toward the close of the [18th] century, a man equally eccentric, but more communicative and intelligent, by the name of Barrett, wandered hither from New Hampshire, and for more than 40 years, passed a life of solitude in the woods of that town.

Timothy Barrett, at the age of 30, came to Davistown in 1793.He lived a hermit's life.His home was a cave dug into a clay bank ledge up above Ruffingham Meadow, on a stream that now bears his name.The Montville Comprehensive Plan says he dug a canal between Center Stream and Thompson Brook to furnish power for the old mill below [ Barrett's mill].In 1807, Barrett sold his 62 acres to Samuel Campbell for $100 and moved to the shore of True's pond.His manner of living did not change with his move.The following was recorded in the Rockland Opinion:


Sixty years ago the coming summer four of us visited Timothy Barrett.He was dressed shabbily and his habitation was decidedly primitive.It was made of poles stood apart at the bottom and drawn together at the top.He had a small stone fireplace on one side, and on the other a nest - it could not be called a bed.He had a piece of white cloth about his head and his feet were bare.We told him we should not think his food would be good.He said it was not.His bread was not half baked.His hut was near a mill pond on which he had a floating garden, a raft of logs with soil enough on them to grow vegetables.The way into his habitation was through a grove of young wild trees interspersed with bearing apple trees, of which, by his leave, we partook - not the trees but the apples.


Timothy Barrett died in 1847.


Eaton, Cyrus.Annals of Warren.Masters & Livermore : Hallowell.1877.

Goodwin Papers.Special Collections.Fogler Library.University of Maine, Orono.

"History." Montville Comprehensive Plan.1991. 

Additional mention is made of Davis in William White's A History of Belfast.









Printed by CHARLES PEIRCE, Proprietor of the Work.

Written by Samuel Ely and Elder James Davis


(The Revolutionary Document that called for a unified and militant backcountry in defiance to Major-General Henry Knox and his claim to the Waldo Patent – Knox, Lincoln and Waldo counties.)

The united cry and heart affecting voice of the two counties of Lincoln and Hancock, is that of the Prophet of Amos, where fays the poor are fold for filver, and the needy for a pair of fhoes, but the author advifes both Counties to choofe a landed Committee of three men to fuperintend the prudentials of their landed intereft – under the jurisdiction of their good Conftitution in each town and plantation, and then to authorife their feveral commitees to meet in one or the other Counties in a peaceable manner to confult the general intereft of the whole, and to adopt the anticipated refolves herein recommended, or fuch others as prudence fhall dictate when convened, which doutlefs will be to forward thofe refolves either by their agents or reprefentatives to the General Court, toplead for an equitous committee to execute deeds in behalf of the State on the fpot, and if this recommendary gift to the two Counties is worthy of acceptance, doubtlefs each town and plantation will publifh their intentions relative to the premifes and each town fay when and where their committees fhall affemble, which plan is confonant to the plan in London, where they convened to numbers of 200,000.

In a folemn manner we refolve to defend the conftitution of the ftate with all its civil officers, at the expence [sic] of life and fortune, unlefs tis where are rights are unjuftly invaded by the unjuft influence of land jobbers to excite civil officers to deftroy and ruin our families, in which cafe our virtuous conftitution does not operate.

The votes and refolves of the County of Hancock or the proceedings of the feveral towns and plantations in faid County relative to the unjuft and illegal title of K[nox] to his fpurious patent, in which we fhall

1ft.State the peoples’ Bill of Rights.
2d.Give a list of their former and prefent gievances.
3d.The equitious neceffity of their occafional resolves.
4th.Shew the wifdom of the united affociation of the people.
5th.Clofe with an addrefs to all the world.
1ft.State the peoples’ Bill of Rights – We fay the people on the patents have as good a right to the lands they now poffess, as their anceftors who firft fettled the American colonies. – The reafons now follow which juftify their rights.

1ft.We fay that original emigration from the mother country gave our predeceffors a free, full and compleat title to all the rights, liberties, and landed properties, they did poffefs. – Why not then we people who fled as emigrants from Nova Scotia, and other parts of America, as our fathers did from tyranny?what can vacate our title to our lands here any more, then they, when we have joined and afflicted in the very conqueft of the lands we now enjoy?

2d.We fay our emigration on to this land, cant include by no means the fhadow of forfeiture, but muft by the immutable law of reafon and equity give juft and pofitive poffeffion of thefe land as a reward for war services.Thefe are the united fentiments of the firft Congrefs that ever met in America.

3d.Give a lift of the firft as well as the prefent grievances of the people – Their grievances begun as foon as they were landed at Broad-Bay.Waldo first promifed them their paffage free to America, but he ftripped them and robbed them of their houfhold goods and money. – Then inftead of fulfilling his folemn repeated promiffary engagements to the poor Germans, in giving them two hundred acres of land a piece, he fettled the whole of them off of his patent, and they have had all their lands to buy of other proprietors, then inftead of fupplying them with a years provifion, as he promifed them many of them ftarved to death, and many others furvived by boiling nothin but lentile herbs and clams; then inftead of peace they waded through Indian war of feven years, and numbers of them were flain; then their prefent children have confronted Britifh terror and have fought to blood and flaughter to defend their lands and lives; and now though Waldo do forfeited his patent twice under the crown, now comes a K[nox], and claims the whole, who fays he ftands in Waldo’s fhoes, and his whole cry is pay me from two to four dollars per acre, or he will drive all the people from their poffeffions, and this demand has put it out of the peoples power ever to have any more fchools or a preached gospel;In the name of wonder where do we live?Not in a land of freedom, but in Algiers, for we are clogged, fhackled and fettered with a loaded demand, which three quarters of the people can never pay no more than they can create a world.Now after fuch a fyftem of crueltiies, invafions and violations of all the principles of the rights and properties of us poor people, we proceed to agree in the following refoves.

1ft.We refolve that we will not pay K[nox] nor his agents, nor nobody elfe one penny for our lands, but the State only.

2d.We refolve K[nox] nor his agents nor no furveyor whatever, fhall be allowed to put a chain or compafs on no land from the North Eaft corner of Ducktrap, to a line running north weft by north till it ftrikes Penobfcot road, which runs to Fort Halifax on Kennebeck river, tho’ no State furveyor fhall be included in this refolve.

3d.We refolve in our judgment we fhall leave him a garden fpot above the line, we have drawn, about 140 thoufand acres of land which is almoft feven townfhips, fix miles fquare, and if that will not fatisfy his voracious appetite, a world placed in his heart would ftill make him cry like the horfe leach, give, give.

4th.We refolve that no furveyor nor agent under K[nox] fhall efcape the refentment of the people under the direction of their committees, in cafe they do attmpt to furvey the premifes, or to cheat the people any longer by felling land under K[nox] on this unlawful granted patent.

5th.We refolve that no civil officer or fheriff fhall be allowed to take or apprehend any man for oppofing or refcuing any man out of his hands when taken.

6th.We refolve that no civil officer fhall be indulged to ferve any writ of ejectment on any inhabitant for taking up or improving any lands on this patent, provided faid writ is iffued by any proprietor or his attorney, till decided by the General Court.

7th.We refolve that one inhabitant fhall not break in upon the furvey of another where they have done it, they fhall quit the premifes, or we will drive them off by force, that the people may have peace among themfelves.

8th.We refolve that they ought in juftice to the poor people on this fpurious patent, to have their feveral committees take up and furvey in each of their towns about fix hundred acres of land to fupport the gofpel and fchools.

9th.We refolve to join all the towns and plantations on this patent as one united body, together with the County of Lincoln, againft all fets of proprietors, who are harraffing the people in law, and to afford them our perfonal affiftance to defend their landed intereft whenever they fhall apply for the fame at the commands of faid committees.

10th.We refolve that whenever any man in any town or plantation; or any ftranger fhall want to take up or furvey any land for themfelves, they muft make application to the landed committee and furrender their application to their judgement and direction.

11th.We refolve that there is on this land claimed by K[nox] above feven hundred children, in our judgement, which never had a fhoe or ftocking to wear from the womb to nine years of age, but their extreme poverty is no defence againft an abufive cruel nabob who is continually crying pay me for my land or I will drive you from your bark huts.

12th.We refolve that in our judgement the General Court will prove as eager and willing to vacate and nullify K[nox]’s oppreffive grant, when they maturely confider the time the grant was made, the few members then in the houfe, the oppreffive effects attending the people, the impolicy of the grant in a free ftate, as King Ahaffurus was to vacate and revoke his bloody edict in favour of Haman againft the poor Jews.

13th.We refolve that no man can deceive a people more, or cheat them worfe than K[nox], when he knows he can’t warrant nor defend a fingle foot of land, called Waldo’s patent, on account of the numerous train of heirs which are as much proprietors of the fame as he is.

14th.We refolve that the people on this land and in this country have as undoubted a right to the foil they now poffefs, as Vermont had to theirs, who never was called upon to pay neither State nor Continent for their lands, though above half of Vermont was patent land, granted to York land jobbers; why then are we not as much the owners of this foil by conqueft, as Vermont?If fo, why fhould the people yield up their property to the arbitrary difpofal of any man on earth? Yet left we are called refractory, we are free to pay the ftate for our lands.4 Shew the wisdom of the united affociations of the people; the wifdom, the importance and abfsolute juftice of this affociation of all people in Hancock and Lincoln counties, will abundantly appear for thefe reafons, as

1ft.Becaufe the people have been harraffed and embaraffed by law, with a fet and fets’ of proprietors for near forty years, and are ftill in the bowels of the law.Now,

2d.Becaufe the damages the people have fuftained, and the great cofts in law they have paid, would have purchafed all their lands thirty times over, in its original ftate.

3d.Becaufe we defy according to the prefent different fets of proprietors claiming the fame land, to difcover a fingle circumftance, promifing from any quarter the faintest hopes of obtaining any refpit in law, but muft as thing now are, ftill fuffer the oppreffive feverities of law in the hands of craving land jobbers to the end of time.

4th.Becaufe the efficatious means of your deliverance from final poverty, from infamous oppreffion, from entailed miferies to pofterity, now depends upon the union of the people; and iffelf-prefervation, if a long ceres of violent abufes, if an accumlation of artful intrigues, if ftrenuous efforts to provoke innocency itfelf, can ftimulate human being to affociate for to refcue themfellves from ruin and tame fubmiffion.Then we as part of yourfelves, are united to call upon you all as one man to adopt our refolves, and defend them in fuch a manner, as we have fincerely recommended, Which brings us

5th.To clofe with the whole with and Addrefs to all the World.

We are forry to fay, yea we feel reluctant to exprefs our being compelled to difapprove the General Court in giving away fuch immenfe tracts of land, when each individual in the State had an intereft in all public property, and whenever they do on any principle whatever, they injured the State, and fubvert the promotion of republican government, why then is this degrading deftiantion made, or, what can entitle on man to five hundred thoufand acres of land, and another to one hundred, when both have merited in the fervice of their country an equal award for their heroifm and fidelity?Indeed idiotcy itfelf cannot believe in piling up property in fuch a manner on one man, to the robbing of thoufands, which in fact is the very cafe, heaven frobid fuch injuftice, heaven awake your attention, heaven confolidate all your hearts like David and Jonathan into a living band of brothers to arife and ftand forth like herces in defence of your invaded rights and; lands fear not the terrors of thirfty land-jobbers, but remember the intention and purity of our conftitution was made to defend the poor from the rich, the weak from the powerful, the induftrious from the rapacious, the peaceable from the violent, the tenants from the lords, and all from their fuperiors.Motives thus cogent arifinng from the emergency of your unhappy condition muft excite your utmoft diligence and zeal to give all poffible energy to have our refolves fupported, as we firmly believed they are calculated for your relief, and will put a ftoppage to the ruin of your families, yes, you know that the tranfcendent nature of freedom, and an equitable enjoyment of the rights of men, will always elevate thofe who unite in the caufe of justice; but if the Court will be deaf to our cries, and afford us no relief, let us adopt Vermont plan, by voting ourfelves into a feparate State, from as they did, an affembly of our own, nulify and vacate patents as they did, then peace will reign triumphant, and there will be none in the Province of Maine to make them afraid.

Some Queries now follow.

1. Query.Was ever any people on earth fo abufed in law, as the counties of Lincoln and Hancock.No, no, no.

2. Query.Was ever there fo much money, time and pains loft by a poor people in America.No, no, no.

3. Query.Was there ever a people before harraffed in law, for thirty-five years, that ever bore it with more patience or perfeverance.No, no, no.

4. Query.Was there ever before three or four diftinct fets of proprietors making equal claims to the fame lands.No, no, no.

5. Query.Will there not be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and to a thoufand different fets of claimants, heirs and proprietors to the fame patent which K[nox] owns.Yes, yes, yes.

6. Query.Then who on earth is fafe or fecure to purchafe a fingle foot of land of K[nox].Anfwer, Nobody.

7. Query.Then what Fool will ever buy of him.Anfwer, there is no fuch fools.


The Freedom of the PRESS is effencial to the fecurity of OUR RIGHTS.


The boomtown years of the Davistown Plantation (1820-1850)

The high point in both population and commercial productivity of Liberty and Montville appears to be around 1835-45.

Historical register for Liberty and Montville

The baseline data for the historical register for Liberty and Montville has been obtained from the following sources: A Brief History of the Town of Liberty:  Celebration of Centennial Anniversary:  August 25, 1927History of Liberty (Hurwitz, 1975) and The Kingdom in Montville, Maine: A Technological Diary 1789-1984 (Donahue).  The Davistown Plantation became the town of Montville in 1807; Liberty was split off from Montville in 1827. The location of early settlers, mills and other historical information given below is the name of the location at the time it was established.  To avoid confusion we do not use the word Davistown in the listings below.

This registry will be perused by the residents of Liberty and Montville.  Hopefully, they will enrich our knowledge of the earliest residents of the Davistown Plantation, the location of surviving early homes and other buildings and the mercantile history of both the Davistown Plantation and the many villages that comprised Liberty and Montville.  Visitors to this website with additional information, please contact the Museum by email, snail mail or fax.

Early Settlers
Smith Cram
(b. 1762)
Built the first sawmill in the Kingdom section of Montville in 1798.
Jesse Cram
Son of Smith Cram sold half interest in one of the Cram sawmills to Jonathan Dutton, 1815 (Donahue, pg. 3)
Jonathan Dutton
ca. 1815
Ebenezer Everett
Owned a grist mill in 1814 that was swept away in a spring freshet in the 1820's
Seth Milliken
ca. 1814
Ira Cram
(b. 1837)
Son of Jesse Cram and Martha (Dutton) Cram, Ira became the most famous entrepreneur in Montville, owning a 600 acre mill property as well as enterprises such as a machine and blacksmith shop, a cider mill and a tree nursery
James Davis
James Davis was alleged to have been one of the first settlers in Montville, 1780.  He settled in Davistown, probably near the current location of the Maritime Energy facility on Route 3.  His son William, age 12, came with him.
Elias Davis
Son of James Davis, he was the first child born in the settlement, December, 1781
Joshua Davis
An older son of James Davis, arrived in 1781 with his wife and two small children, Charles and Levi, joining his relatives in the section then known as Davistown.
Ezekiel Knowlton
Extensive information is provided in the 1927 Centennial History about the locations of the Knowlton clan on the "Knowlton Rd." in Liberty. Settled in Liberty at least as early as 1794.
John Knowlton
(b. 1805)
Son of Ezekiel
Samuel Knowlton
(b. 1811)
Warren Knowlton
Hiram Knowlton
William Knowlton
Managed the carding mill in Liberty Village
Judge Joseph Knowlton
Richard Hanna
South Liberty
Aaron Hale Bradstreet
Came to Liberty in 1818 and married Abbie Dunton
Charles Bradstreet
Benjamin Tibbitts
Benjamin settled in Liberty in 1815 and was the subject of a newspaper article on the occasion of his 100th birthday.  See Alan Taylor'sLiberty Men and the Great Proprietors for the story of Tibbitts role in the white Indian attack of 1815.
William Johnson
Mrs. Brown Harris
Wove carpets and rugs
Asa and James Dunton
The 1927 Centennial History has extensive information on the Boynton clan.  They came from Rowley in 1814.
Dave Boynton
The Kingdom
Later known as the King of The Kingdom; was a descendant of James Boynton
Nicolas Gilman
Liberty Village
U.S. Congressman whose son moved to Liberty Village
John E. Dodge
William Lewis
Ebenezer Colby
Mr. Boyd
John Edwards
William Lamson
James Marshall
William Ripley
Sherman's Corner
Timothy Copp
Came from New Hampshire and built the C.M. Hurd house
Sam Kenniston
Ed Bridges
Bowlin Hill
Henry Cook
Ran a steamboat on Lake St. George
Early Sawmills
Smith Cram sawmills
Sucker Mill
Exact location unknown
On the Belfast Rd.
Peter Light's mill
South Liberty
Eldred Rhode's mill
Arthur Turner's mill
Located near the Rhodes Mill
Henry Sherman Mill
Located near the lower county road, South Liberty?
Alvin Baird Mill
Located on the Sheepscot River
William Lewis' mill
Located on the Sheepscot River just north of the route 3 bridge; operated until 1926
Dowel mill
Sheepscot River.  Operated by Braddock Hardy, located just below the Lewis mill
Jacob Leman Mill
Located one mile west of Sherman's Corner near Carl Turner's mill dam
Copps Sawmill
Liberty Village
Copps Sawmill was also the site of the wool carding mill and possibly other businesses and may have been located at the outlet from St. George's Lake.  In the town histories it's called Copps Mills
Henry Cook's sawmill
Later run by Mr. Sylvester and wife Bertha.  Also called the "Hen" Cook sawmill.
Ira Davis' stave mill
Liberty Village
Also the location of a bed factory
Albert Boynton Sawmill
Samuel Knowlton Sawmill
Liberty Village
Later the site of the Walker Tannery

Industries and Commercial Establishments other than mills

South Liberty
Cargill House
South Liberty
Colby House
South Liberty
Noted as being 1/2 mile beyond the Bradstreet school
Grist mill
Liberty Village
Run by A. D. Matthews
Tom Matthew's grist mill
Liberty Village
Later run by S. Meservey.
Mathews-Young grist mill
Liberty Village
Are these one and the same?
Grain mill
Liberty Village
Does this refer to the grist mill?
Carding mill
Liberty Village
Made wool into rolls for spinning; it also dyed and pressed the wool.  W. J. Knowlton may have been the manager
George Knowlton broom factory
Liberty Village
Ax factory
Liberty Village
Run by Issac Dunton until a fire killed his daughter Blanche and then he moved his business to Belfast
Ivan Davis Sr. shovel and ax handles and spool factory
Liberty Village
He also made coffins and dowels and had a dance hall on the second floor of the factory.
Hunt-Walker Tannery
Liberty Village
The largest of all 19th century enterprises in Liberty, the tannery was known as Hunt's Tannery, run by William and Augustus Hunt and utilized great quantities of hemlock bark for the tanning process.  The 1927 Centennial History notes that the tannery was first known as the W. R. and W. H. Hunt Tannery.
Corn canning factory
Liberty Village
The last of Liberty's major industries and the only 19th century buildings still standing in the center of what once was the Liberty Village complex of mills and factories.  Also called the Monmouth Canning Factory.  John Sanford was the manager.
Boot maker
Liberty Village
William Douglas, proprietor
Blacksmith shop
Sherman's Corner
operated by Bridges C. Sherman, 1858-1871
Carriage factory
Sherman's Corner
James Leman, proprietor, 1855-1891
Liberty Inn and Tea Room
Toothacre Store
Sanborn Hotel
Liberty Village
William Sanborn, proprietor, later or also the location of True McCurdy's house
Knowlton Tavern
Liberty Village
Alfred Knowlton, proprietor, also known as Knowlton's Hotel.  There is an advertisement for Fred Knowlton, proprietor of Stage House - all kinds of produce taken in exchange for goods.
Chapman House
Liberty Village
South Liberty
Would this be the Cargo House?
William Ayer Store
Liberty Village
Stevens Sawmill
East Liberty
An up and down sawmill located on Steven's Pond in East Liberty
Stave and heading mill
East Liberty
Located in a brook running from the John C. Knowlton property to Steven's Pond.  Managed by Peleg and Robert Howes.  There is an advertisement for W. J. Knowlton, heading, shingles & staves.
Josiah Cross
Made wooden butter churns, Sukeforth farm
Peavy Gun Factory
Located on the brook at Arthur Esancy's place and run by Thomas Peavy
White Horse Hotel
Managed by Hazen Ayer
General store
Sherman's Corner
W. L. Track blacksmith shop
ca. 1900
Vose Brother's Novelty Mill
Occupied the site of the tannery after it closed
Frank Bennett Machine Shop
Liberty Village
Liberty Machine Co.
Liberty Village
operated by Henry Kent
Dunton Copp Ax Factory
Liberty Village
Later operated by William Hurd.  Also made horse forks and was well known for the sound of its trip hammer.
Hurd axe handle factory
Is this the ax factory?
Richard Gilman blacksmith shop
Liberty Village
Later the location of Sporie's Garage
Hardware store
Liberty Village
Located near George Palmer's house; it later burned
William Young's store
Liberty Village
Now the location of Liberty Tool Co., the building was once owned by Timothy Copp and later by W. D. Sanford and Alger Parmeter.  It was also known as the Lowell Block.  A.D. Matthews was initially a partner with Samuel Young and then moved his business across the street.  It apparently burned in the fire of 1891.
Lovejoy's jewelry store
Liberty Village
F. A. Lovejoy, Proprietor.  Located across the street from Liberty Tool Co., it along with three "other" stores, burned in the fire of 1891.
A.D. Matthew's store
Liberty Village
Probably located just north of Liberty Tool Co.; apothecary and mercantile.
Leal Prescott's store
Liberty Village
Probably located across the street from Liberty Tool Co., burned in the great fire of 1891
Waldo Hotel
Liberty Village
John Ayer, proprietor, this hotel also burned, fire of 1891?  Later the home of Raymond Banks.
William Hunt store
Liberty Village
Later became A. J. Skidmore's house
Sanford Hotel
Liberty's first hotel was operated by Francis Chapman
William Clark's tannery
Clark's Corners
Samuel Douglas shoemaker
At William Lawson's house
Hayden Demur blacksmith
Worked at George Palmer's house
Gilman's iron foundry
Liberty Village
Later run by George Palmer
L. C. Morse Undertaker
There also is a L. C. Morse - job shop - coffins and caskets
Worthen Brother's market
Liberty Village
Also run by A.M. Baker, Henry Wyman, Harry Benner, Cela Nelson and A. J. Skidmore
A. J. Skidmore store and Post Office
Liberty Village
Is this the same as the Worthern Brothers Market?
M. Harriman's store
Sherman's Corner
Mrs. Rafe Sukeforth store
South Liberty
Carol Bank's garage
Liberty Village
Bank's later moved up the hill to the Prescott Block and is pictured on the front page of You Auto See Maine by Will Anderson (see photo)
Will Hayes' store
Liberty Village
Ed Bridge's store
"on Pond Rd."
Fulling mill
Liberty Village
1835-1850. Also the site of a grist mill, sawmill and a smithy. The 1927 Centennial History notes "ruin of old potash".
Joseph French store
Liberty Village
Gus Cargill Harnessmaker
Liberty Village
Worked in the old octagonal post office, which was also the location of the first telephone and the first telegraph.  It was later a photography studio.  He also made saddles.
Crockett Block
Liberty Village
Location of a barber shop and ?
St. George Hall
Liberty Village
Newell White's Pant Shop
Frank and Bennett Machine Shop
(The Kingdom)
Which later became Volney Follet's blacksmith shop
Cooper's shop
Montville (The Kingdom)
Made lime casks
Charles N. Rowell cooper's shop
Otis Wing
Skidmore and Baker Slaughterhouse
Shoe factory
Liberty Village
Next to the post office
Briggs Turner blacksmith shop
Liberty Village
Lucius Morse Casket Factory
Liberty Village
Liberty Local Newspaper
ca. 1882
T. J. Peavey Blacksmith
South Montville
Mrs. John F. Esancy Millinery Shop
Liberty Village
Located in the Douglas Block
McFarland's store
McFarland's Corner
Knowlton tin shop
Will Knowlton bed spring factory and furniture shop
Allen iron foundry
Fish Hatchery
Peabody Shoe Repair Shop
Elden Rowell bootmaker
J. W. Clough Dentist
Mrs. A. L. Norton, millinery

This list is under construction and will be further sub-divided as more information becomes available as to who did what and when.

Census Numbers for Montville and Liberty
1800 to 1920
1800 Davistown Plantation 270
1810 Montville 864 Montville Plantation
(Davistown Plantation becomes Montville in 1807)
1820 Montville 1294
1830 Montville 1743 Liberty
(Liberty separates from Montville 1827)
1840 Montville 2153 Liberty
(Part of Montville set off to Knox 1833)
1850 Montville 1890 Liberty 1116
1860 Montville 1685 Liberty 1095
1870 Montville 1467 Liberty
1880 Montville 1255 Liberty
(Part of Montville set off to Liberty 1876)
1890 U.S. Census records destroyed by fire
1900 Montville
1910 Montville
1920 Montville

The Toolmakers of the Davistown Plantation, Liberty and Montville

In 1990 the Early American Industries Association brought out a second edition of the Directory of American Toolmakers (DATM) edited by Robert E. Nelson.  In this directory six Liberty and Montville toolmakers are listed (see below).  In addition to the toolmakers listed here, Kenneth L. Cope's American Wrench Makers 1830 - 1915 lists Danvers Cram as a wrench maker living in Liberty Maine circa 1890 (also see below).  The Davistown Museum is seeking both information on these and any other toolmakers living and working in Davistown, Montville, or Liberty, as well as any surviving specimens of the tools that they produced. Please contact the Museum if you have information on these toolmakers, or for that matter, any of the other of the hundreds of Maine toolmakers which are listed in the 1990 or 1999 edition of DATM.  As funding permits a complete listing of Maine toolmakers will be collated from DATM and other sources (see the Registry of Maine Toolmakers.)

Registry of the Toolmakers of Liberty and Montville

In the brief listing of Liberty and Montville toolmakers compiled below, its particularly noteworthy that only one toolmaker, Dunton, Copp and Co. is documented as working prior to the Civil War.  The peak of population growth of Liberty and Montville was reached in the middle of the 4th decade of the 19th century.  At this time there must have been a proliferation of blacksmith shops producing tools for the local trades and industries throughout the communities of Maine.  The names of most of these smiths and small tool factories with their water driven trip hammers have been lost.  The later toolmakers listed below at least produced enough tools to be remembered, or at least to have signed specimens survive into the late 20th century.  As of this date (Jan. 2001), The Davistown Museum has not been able to locate any signed Liberty or Montville made hand tools.  Of particular interest is the large number of coopers working in Liberty at the time of the Civil War, as noted by Beaudry below.  1860 would mark the end of the florescence of the cooper's trade in Liberty and Montville for items other than the lime casks that were in demand until the late-19th century.  The many kinds of wooden tubs, buckets, barrels, boxes and other wooden paraphernalia produced for the booming coasting trade was being quickly supplanted by factory made storage containers.  Somebody had to produce tools for the coopers, as well as for the shoemakers, joiners, carriage makers, brick masons, wheelwrights and other artisans who were active well before the Industrial Revolution so dramatically changed the lives of Liberty and Montville's artisans and craftsmen.

Who When Where What Reference
Abbott, Ebenezer G. -1850-1860- Montville Blacksmith 1850 and 1860 census
Abbott, Joel -1860- Montville Blacksmith 1860 census
Allen, I.F. -1870- Liberty Machinist 1880 census
Ayer, William 1879 Liberty Axes 1879 Maine Business Directory pg. 130
Baker, Daniel 1880 Liberty Blacksmith 1880 census
Batchelder, Edward S. (or Bachelder) 1869-1871 Montville Blacksmith, Edge tools DATM pg. 66
1850, 1860, 1870 census
Bean, Jonathan 1855-1860 Montville Farm tools, Machinist DATM, 1860 census
Bennet, Frank P. Montville Improved model of the Cram wheel, stave chamfer and crozing machine, tongue and groove stave machine, hand water pump Donahue
Bryant, Alonzo 1879-1880 Montville Farm tools (winnowing mills) DATM pg. 126
Butler, Daniel W. 1860 Liberty Blacksmith 1860 census
Chaplin, Charles c. 1870 Liberty Machinist 1870 census
Clement, Albion 1870-1880 Montville Blacksmith 1870 and 1880 census
Clement, William 1850-1860 Montville Blacksmith 1850 and 1860 census
Collins, J. W. & Co. 1881 Montville Axes 1881 Maine Business Directory
Collins, W. 1881-1884 Liberty & Montville Axes Yeaton
Copp, Dunton 1856 Liberty Axes Yeaton
Cram, Danvers pat. 1/27/1891 Liberty Adjustable axle nut wrench Cope pg. 92
Cram, Smith 1762-1857 Montville (Kingdom) Sawmill Donahue
Cram, Elijah 1850 Montville Cram water wheel Donahue
Creasey, Isaiah 1880 Montville Machinist 1880 census
Creasey, Isaiah E. 1880 Montville Machinist 1880 census
Davis, Dexter 1880 Montville Blacksmith 1880 census
Dennis, Hazen 1870-1880 Liberty Blacksmith 1870 and 1880 census
Dunton, Copp & Co. 1856 Liberty Axes DATM pg. 243
Dunton, Isaac L. 1862 Liberty Axes and edge tools DATM pg. 243
Enos, Emery 1880 Montville Blacksmith 1880 census
Gilman, Ellis A. 1860-1870 Liberty Blacksmith 1860, 1870 census
Gilman, Hollis M. 1850 Liberty Blacksmith 1850 census
Gilman, John N. 1880 Liberty Machinist 1880 cenus
Gilman, Richard H. 1871-1885 Liberty Farm and household tools, plows, harrows, cider presses DATM pg. 315
Gilman, Roscoe 1860 Liberty Blacksmith 1860 census
Glidden, Joseph 1879-1880 Liberty Farm tools, cultivators DATM pg. 317
Hatch, Jonathan 1860 Montville Blacksmith 1860 census
Hunt, W. H. 1874 Liberty Axes Yeaton
Hurd, William 1862-1896 Liberty Axes and edge tools DATM pg. 412
Peavey, Andrew 1850 Liberty Blacksmith 1850 census
Peavey, Thomas J. 1850-1870 Liberty and Montville Blacksmith 1850, 1860 and 1870 census
Peavey, William 1850 Liberty Blacksmith 1850 census
Pickett, Joseph 1850 Montville Blacksmith 1850 census
Poland, John 1880 Montville Machinist apprentice 1880 census
Randel, Charles 1860 Montville Blacksmith 1860 census
Sherman, Bridges Curtis 1850-1880 Liberty Blacksmith 1850 - 1880 census
Sherman, Walter H. 1880 Liberty Blacksmith 1880 census
Smith, Reuben 1850 Montville Blacksmith 1850 census
Swift, Chauncey 1870-1880 Montville Blacksmith 1870, 1880 census
Sylvester, Bela P. 1850 Montville Blacksmith 1850 census
Temple, Levi 1850 Montville Blacksmith 1850 census
Thompson, Granville 1880 Montville Blacksmith 1880 census
Whitten, Samuel 1860 Montville Blacksmith 1860 census
Wood, Phineas 1855 Liberty Edge tools 1855 Maine Business Directory, pg. 345
Young, Andrew 1860-1870 Montville Blacksmith 1860, 1870 census
Young, Dunbar 1870 Montville Blacksmith 1870 census
Young, George W. 1880 Montville Blacksmith 1880 census

Advertisements from brochures promoting Frank Bennett's machinery. (Reprinted from Tom Donahue's 1996, The Kingdom in Montville, Maine: A technological diary 1789 - 1994.)

Photograph of an axe that appears to be marked "W HURD LIBERTY WARRANTED" courtesy of Kian Breslin

The Artisans and Tradesmen of the Davistown Plantation, Liberty and Montville

Michael Beaudry in his unpublished paper "Montville/Liberty and the Civil War" lists the following occupations as extrapolated from the 1860 census (the number of individual in each occupation is listed in parentheses after the occupation).  In 1860, Beaudry notes Montville and Liberty had 234 farmers.  The following trades are noted, with the numbers for Montville first, Liberty second. This listing does not include non-tool related professions such as teachers, clergymen, sea captains (1), traders, clerks, postmasters and other professions which Beaudry includes in his paper.

Trade (# Montville / # Liberty)
Farmers (88/146)
Coopers (10/19)
Carpenters (15/3)
Blacksmiths (8/4)
Shoemakers (5/5)
Joiners (0/5)
Carriage makers (4/0)
Lumbermen (0/4)
Brick masons (3/0)
Mill men (1/3)
Ax maker (0/2)
Wheelwrights (0/2)
Cabinetmakers (2/0)
Bootmakers (2/0)
Dressmakers (2/2)
Machinists (2/1)
Tailors (2/0)
Millwrights (1/1)
Harnessmakers (1/0)
Stone cutters (0/1)
Caulker (0/1)
Carver (1/0)
Tinplate maker (0/1)

Information Files - Davistown Plantation Region

The Davistown Museum is in the process of collecting tidbits of information about the general area where the Davistown Plantation is located.

Annals of Warren, Maine

The following annotations and citations come from Cyrus Eaton's 1851 Annals of the town of Warren in Knox County, Maine with the early history of St. Georges, Broadbay and neighboring settlements on the Waldo Patent.
Henry Knox Papers
Sawyer's Agreement of Oct. 31, 1800

Henry Knox Papers -- XLII-117. (October 31, 1800). Memorandum of an agreement between Henry Knox and Life Wilson, eighteen hundred. Bangor Public Library, Bangor, ME.

It is hereby mutually agreed between Henry Knox on the one part and Life Wilson on the other. The former being of Thomaston and the latter of Warren, County of Lincoln and commonwealth of Massachusetts.

First. That the said Life Wilson will take charge of the saw mills, grist mill, locks and canals of the said Henry in Warren aforesaid, and that he will faithfully and truly see that the same are improved to the best advantage of the said Henry from the first day of November, until the first day of May, if the sawing season should be permitted so long by the fish committee.

Secondly, that he will attend to the sawyers who are to have one quarter part of the lumber for sawing (the long mill for planks and the slabs excepted), and will daily see that each sawyer is diligently employed that he uses the mill in a proper manner, and that he saws the timber of proper dimensions without waste or injury to the stuff. That the lumber is divided and separated into due proportions, the part of the said Henry by itself, and the part of each sawyer by itself, and that he will not suffer any sawyer to encroach or dispose of any lumber whatever until if is divided. In fine that the said Life will direct and manage the whole business of sawing in the best, most economical, and most profitable manner that his ability will permit.

Thirdly. That he will constantly inspect the said mills, and have them kept in good repair, the usual repairs by the mill men, and the usual parts to be kept in good order by the proprietor, at the expense of him, the said Henry.

Fourthly. That in case any of the mill men proving careless, indolent or disobedient, that he will discharge them, for which the said Henry will bear the said Life harmless and employ others in their room or stead.

Fifthly. The said Life, hereby agrees to occupy the grist mill on equal shares, half to himself and half to the said Henry, and to divide the toll every Saturday, with the said Henry, or his agent for that purpose.

Sixthly. The said Life also engages to see to and employ proper persons to raft timber from the mills to the head of the tide, and also to endeavour to fmd some suitable person to take charge of the said lumber from the head of tide to the wharf of the said Henry in Thomaston - but the said Life cannot be answerable for the lumber further than thro the locks at the head of tide, altho he will endeavour to find a suitable person to take charge thereof and until it shall reach the lumber yard at Thomaston.

Seventhly, and the said Life will also receive, measure and certify any lumber of any sort that shall be hauled into the mills either on the account of the said Henry or for purposes of being sawed in the mills upon shares, and he will also take charge of all the logs and other property of the said Henry at the mills, or on, or by the locks and canals aforesaid. And to keep a regular account of the quantity sawed by each saw daily.

Eighthly, and the said Henry hereby engages to allow and pay the said Life for his services as aforesaid the sum of twenty five dollars per month, to be paid in boards or money as shall be agreed upon.

Ninthly, and in all cases of freshets or any other circumstances which may occur to endanger the mills, locks or canals, the said Life will to the utmost of his power endeavour to prevent any damage by himself, by the mill men, and by any assistance he can obtain at the expense however of him the said Henry.

Life Wilson


The Most Important Voyage You Never Heard Of
By Kerry Hardy

A year ago right now, much ado was made over the four-hundred-year anniversary of the George Waymouth / James Rosier voyage to the mid-coast area. However, an argument could well be made that a more important voyage occurred the following year, and that the foundation for an English presence in Maine was truly established then.

When Waymouth and Rosier returned to England in 1605 with their glowing account of a new land, nobody was listening more keenly than Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Lord Chief Justice John Popham. Popham actually envisioned America as a vast penal colony where the worst riff-raff would be sent to labor for the crown, and conveniently removed from England in the process. King James was all for keeping the new land's wealth out of private pockets and in his own, and with His Majesty's aid Popham and Gorges quickly maneuvered themselves into the lead role of sponsoring trips to America.

Several incidents hint at Popham's role as the spider in a web of political influence. The "ownership" of America had only reverted to King James because its former owner, Walter Raleigh, had been sent to the Tower of London on dubious charges of plotting to kill the King. The presiding judge is his "trial", of course, was John Popham. Once Waymouth had returned and been debriefed (and probably relieved of his charts) he was on the outside looking in, and his scribe Rosier was compelled to publish only as much information as Popham and Gorges deemed necessary to help them secure investors.

Thus the little-known voyage of 1606 was captained by Thomas Hanham, Popham¹s son-in-law, and piloted by young Martin Pring, who had previously been to New England in 1603. However, the most important person on the ship may have been an Indian who Waymouth had kidnapped the previous year, and whose name Rosier rendered as "Dehanada". One of five such captives, he stayed at the home of Ferdinando Gorges and learned English while Gorges and Popham prepared to send out two  more exploratory voyages in 1606. These Indians, incidentally, may have been exhibited in London and an influence to Shakespeare, whose play "The Tempest" was published c.1610. From all accounts Gorges treated his guests well, as indeed he considered their guidance and friendship to be essential to his future colonies.

Dehanada was sent back to America as a guide with Hanham and Pring, and presumably led them to the Pemaquid -Sagadahoc area. In addition to assisting Hanham and Pring, he also sailed as a guide with John Smith in 1614, who called him "Donnida" and had high praise for the assistance he rendered. We last see Dehanada as late as 1648, testifying in a dispute over competing English deeds to land along the Kennebec. Naming himself as the rightful heir to Old Natawormet, a Kennebec sagamore who Champlain met near Wiscasset in 1605, he asserts that the land was rightly his to sell.

With an English-speaking native prince as both guide and pawn, and perhaps even friend, Hanham and Pring were apparently able to make a lot of hay in the summer of 1606. No account of their voyage was ever published, though the famous naval chronicler Samuel Purchas apparently had it in his possession at one time. We know of their work at least indirectly from Gorges, who called their map of the Maine coast the best that had ever come to his possession. Armed with the information brought back by Hanham and Pring, Popham and Gorges were able to secure a charter from King James, granting the Plymouth Company the right to develop colonies in America. Their inside knowledge also enabled them to attract all the investment partners they needed for their formal attempt at colonization in 1607--  the ill-fated Popham Colony, called Sabino, at the mouth of the Kennebec.

A marvelous account of that colony's founding in 1607 can be found in the anonymously-authored "Relation of a Voyage to Sagadahoc", which contains more information about Dehanada and a few intriguing hints about Waymouth¹s tracks across the mid-coast. However, the "phantom voyage" of 1606 remains almost invisible in the mists of time. There just aren't enough scraps of information from it for historians to even have good arguments about, so it remains largely ignored.

Hanham, Pring, and Dehanada. If we could only know what these three knew, many riddles that remain from the Contact Era could be resolved. At the very least, their trip to Maine in 1606 deserves a four-century anniversary of its own; for without it the English adventure in America would have played out very differently, or perhaps not at all.

Many of the primary sources from which this material was drawn may be seen at the Davistown Museum website's new publication, "Norumbega Reconsidered", written by curator H.G. Brack.

Information Files - Manufacturing History
The Museum has information files on the following general history subjects

Union Business Directory

Reprinted from Union, past and present: An illustrated history, 1895
This listing is as of 1891

Wingate, Simmons & Co. Carriage Makers
Union Weekly Times Newspaper
Wm. Bessey Union Flour Mill
Whitten & Messer Wholesale Produce and General Store
James Fossett General Store
N. D. Robbins General Store
D. L. Bennett Harness Maker
O. S. McCorrison  General Store and Medicines
H. L. Robbins Drugs and Small Wares
Mrs. A. M. Thurston Millinery and Fancy Goods
B. Burton Burton House
N. E. Telephone Line B. Burton
C. I. Burrows Livery Stable
Warren Hills Hardware
A. S. Tolman Vinegar and Cider Mill
S. N. Butler Barber
Walter S. Morton Variety Store
T. A. Davis Boot and Shoe Maker
Mrs. O. A. Burkett Millinery
Mrs. Mary A. White Millinery
W. H. Bennett Physician
A. Shuman Carriage Repairing
L. R. Morton Carriage Repairing
Roscoe Miller Blacksmith
E. B. Smith Grist Mill and Elevator
F. A. Alden Produce Warehouse
J. J. Alden Dentist
A. M. Wingate Postmaster
E. E. Peabody Painter
R. I. Thompson Lawyer
F. H. Lenfest Stave and Heading Mill
F. E. Burkett Station Agent and American Express
Thurston Bros. Burial Caskets
Brown Bros. Clothing Manufacturers
S. W. Jones Iron Foundry
South Union Saw Mill Co. Saw Mill
G. H. Jones Machine Shop
W. A. Luce Nursery Stock
E. Burkett & Co. General Store
A. K. McFarland Blacksmith
American Express Co. E. Burkett, Agent
S. W. Jones Postmaster
Payson & Robbins General Store
F. S. Gould Saw, Grist and Stave Mills
D. B. Titus Mast Hoops
N. Lothrop Carriage Shop
N. E. Telephone Line Payson & Robbins, Agents
Knox Co. Fish and Game Association Fish Hatchery
A. W. Payson Postmaster
A. Fossett, North Union Postmaster

Manufactures in Union

The following text is a quote from John Langdon Sibley's 1851, A history of the town of Union, Maine, to the middle of the nineteenth century, pg. 108-111, 102-104.

SPINNING WHEELS. -- The old spinning-wheel, turned by hand and doling out its single thread, was in use from the first settlement of the town.  It was considered indispensable to every household.  The spindle was made to revolve by means of a band connecting it with a large wheel.  Notwithstanding the facilities for manufacturing yarn at the present day, it is still occasionally used in many families.  The only improvement in it is the 'patent head,' which is merely the addition of an intervening wheel between the large one and the spindle.

LOOMS. -- The old-fashioned loom, more costly than the spinning-wheel, was not so common.  The shuttle was thrown through the warp with the hand.  The fly-shuttle, introduced about the year 1812 or 1815, was considered a great improvement.

HOME-MADE CLOTHING. -- By means of the spinning-wheel and the loom, the inhabitants were able to provide themselves with woollen garments.  The fleece was made into rolls by the tedious process of carding by hand.  By the industrious housewife the rolls were spun on the large wheel, which in winter was brought up before the kitchen fire, -- the only fire in the house, except when there was company.  The yarn was then woven, and the cloth taken to the clothier, dressed and returned, having been dyed Holland-brown or smoke-color.  Cloth for striped frocks, and for some other purposes, was made and worn without being sent to the fulling-mill.  A tailoress was commonly employed to cut and sometimes to baste the garments, which were subsequently made by the wife and daughters.

The foot-wheel converted into linen the flax which was raised on the farm.  Winter evenings, when there were not more pressing duties, were spent by the females around a rousing wood-fire, in knitting stockings, mittens, and leggins, from home-made yarn.  Thus was every family practically in favor of domestic manufactures.

FULLING MILLS. -- The first fulling-mill was built on Crawford's River in 1799, by Micajah Gleason, from Framingham, Mass.  There have been four since, though there are none now.

CARDING MACHINES. -- The first machine for carding wool was built by Ebenezer Alden in 1806.  There have been four since, though there are none now.

FACTORIES. -- In 1809, a cotton-factory was built on the west side of St. George's River, just below the Middle Bridge.  Its operations were never very extensive.  The building was carried away by a freshet in 1832.  The Farmers' Woollen Factory was built near the Upper Bridge in 1814, and owned in shares of ten dollars each.  Wool was carded there as recently as 1843, though no cloth was dressed during the two or three previous years.  In 1843, William Gleason converted into a woollen-factory the building which had been used for a paper-mill at South Union.

PAPER MILLS. -- Several years ago, the manufacture of paper was carried on extensively.  The water in Crawford's River is peculiarly good for the purpose.  On this river, in 1810, was erected a paper-mill, which was burnt in 1818.  Another building was put up in 1819; but no paper was made there after 1837.  Immediately above the Middle Bridge was another paper-mill, which was burnt early on the morning of June 11, 1843.  The machinery, said to have cost $3,000, and unwrought stock valued at more than $2,000, were destroyed.  The paper was saved.  Insured at Worcester, Mass.

TANNERIES. -- Richard Cummings was the first person who tanned hides.  He abandoned the business after a few years, and the people traded for leather at Warren.  In 1826, there were three tanneries; one owned by Joseph Beckett, south-south-west of the Methodist Meeting-house; another by Susman Abrams, a Jew, a few rods below the Middle Bridge; and another on the east side of the St. George's above the Upper Bridge.  In 1840, there were four in town.

POTASH. -- Soon after the incorporation of he town, Edward Jones made potash, in small quantities, near the Lower Bridge.  For several years in the early part of the nineteenth century, Ebenezer Alden manufactured five or six tons annually in a building which he erected for the purpose, on a rivulet at the brow of the hill east of Seven Brook, on the south side of the road.

FOSSETTS' MILLS. -- The most extensive mill establishment was the Fossetts', at North Union.  It was completed in December, 1848, at an expense of about $10,000.  Under one roof were a saw-mill, a grist-mill with 'three run of stones,' besides a corn-cracker, stave-machine, shingle-machine, lath-machine, threshing-machine, cleanser, and bolt, -- all carried by steam.  They were destroyed by fire, June 21, 1850.

LIME-CASKS. -- The first person who gave his attention particularly to the manufacture of lime-casks was John Little.  This was early in the nineteenth century.  Within twenty-five years afterward, there was a cooper-shop at almost every man's door.  From August 15, 1794, the casks were to contain 100 gallons each, and to be made of well-seasoned oak or ash staves, with ten hoops on each cask, well driven, and sufficiently secured with nails or pins.  Afterward they were reduced to 75, and in 1810 to 50 gallons.  Now they will hold about 28 gallons.  At first they were made of rift staves, and the price for putting them together was twenty cents each.  The highest sum for which they were sold at Thomaston was sixty cents.  Now they are sold for about thirteen cents; sixteen and seventeen cents being considered high, though they can hardly be afforded at that price.  About the year 1818, when the price was thirty-two or thirty-three cents, the coopers, who could make twelve in a day, were dissatisfied because their wages were reduced to twelve and a half cents.  Not many years after the commencement of the business, the demand was so great that casks were put together hastily; and there was seldom a load from any part of the country carried to Thomaston, in which some were not crushed on the way.  Legislation has been resorted to frequently; but the laws are often willingly evaded both by makers and purchasers, and there is difficulty in enforcing them.

The introduction of stave-machines within twenty-five or thirty years -- of which there are now nine or more in the town -- enables the inhabitants to work up almost every kind of lumber, which would otherwise be worthless.  The facilities for putting together the materials, which are now bevelled by machinery, save a great amount of labor.  The number made cannot be ascertained.  In 1826 it was estimated at 30,000.  Considerable inquiry has been made of coopers and carters; and it is not unreasonable to say that at the present time there are not less than one hundred thousand, and it is not improbable that there are one hundred and fifty thousand made annually in Union alone.

...When hogsheads were first made, the number carried to Thomaston in a load was comparatively small.  About the year 1817, it had increased to sixty.  The roads were so bad that this was as large a load as four oxen could draw.  Now the casks are smaller, the roads better, and four oxen will carry two hundred; and a load of one hundred and sixty is common.

...The manufacturers or carters go when it is most convenient or advantageous; and, instead of being limited to Thomaston, as they were thirty years ago, they now dispose of the greater part of their hogsheads at East Thomaston, or Rockland, which has grown up since that time, and to which is a road through the Camden Hills by Mount Pleasant.

If no more were carried to Thomaston annually than the one hundred or one hundred and fifty thousand from Union, it would be an item of value in trade.  But on some mornings, thirty, forty, or perhaps fifty loads of various sizes, containing from twenty to one hundred and sixty lime-casks each, are seen at the market.  They are brought from the country nearly fifty miles back; from Hope, Appleton, Searsmont, Montville, Liberty, Palermo, Washington, Jefferson, &c.  The farmer, on rainy days, goes into his cooper-shop, and, in the course of a summer, has time to manufacture one or more loads.  The hired laborer, easily taught, thus makes his rainy days and leisure hours profitable to his employer.

Katahdin Iron Works
Blast Furnaces, Charcoal Kilns, Lime Kilns

The Katahdin Iron Works is located in central Maine north of Dover-Foxcroft and just east of Gulf Hagas.  Moosehead Lake and the town of Greenville lie to the west and the mills of Millinocket to the northeast.  The iron works began operation in 1843 and ceased production of pig iron in 1890.  Links to a number of local and state websites describing the history and operations of the Katahdin Iron Works follow this introductory note.

One of the first questions the Davistown Museum had about the Katahdin Iron Works was, what role did it play in the florescence of Maine's many ax makers in the 19th century?  Where was Katahdin's raw pig iron reprocessed into wrought iron, low carbon steel or steel?  What industries utilized the pig iron that Katahdin produced.  What was the extent of the market area that Katahdin Iron Works served?  Perhaps the most important question, where did Maine blacksmiths, including its edge and other toolmakers, obtain the wrought iron and steel they utilized prior to 1843, as well as during the years after Katahdin Iron Works began operation?  In a previous memo posted on this site in the Katahdin Iron Works file, we raised the question of what role did the Katahdin Iron Works play in supplying the raw material for Maine's ax and edge tool makers.  Recent research conducted by Davistown Museum staff member, Mike Beaudry, indicates that Katahdin Iron Works played no role whatsoever in supplying the raw materials for Maine's edge tool makers.  The principal products produced from iron made at Katahdin Iron Works were: rail car wheels and wire, both made in states outside of Maine.  There is no evidence that any of the iron produced at Katahdin Iron Works was ever refined into the high quality wrought iron that then would have been utilized to make steel edge tools.  For more information on the history of the iron works as developed by Mike, see his essay {TO BE ADDED SOON} following the quotations from Victor Schlich's article below.

It is interesting to note in the following web information sources on Katahdin no mention is made of any lime kilns at Katahdin Iron Works.  East of Katahdin on the Maine coast are the vast lime pits of Thomaston and Knox county.  The lime produced from these unique coastal geological formations was an important industry beginning with the very first settlers in the Thomaston area.  General Henry Knox's mansion in Thomaston was, in fact, built in part with funds obtained from his profitable lime business.  While the predominant use of lime is for mortar and plaster in the building trades, lime is also a flux used to remove the impurities from pig iron in the blast furnace.  Roger K. Smith, the Massachusetts tool historian, has provided the Davistown Museum a very interesting photo of a lime kiln.  The fact that lime was apparently readily available in conjunction with the iron ore deposits at Katahdin may have played a key role in the longevity of pig iron production there.

Lime kiln 
lime kiln
photo complements of Roger K. Smith
Note the similarity of appearance between the lime kiln and the blast furnace at Katahdin Iron Works (see photo below.)  These both have similar functions, they mix wood or other fuel with rock to get the final product.  A lime kiln uses limestone as the raw material.  Wood is added and burned with the limestone.  The heat causes the carbon portion of the limestone to also burn, resulting in lime, which is removed from the hole in the bottom.
The vast lime pits of Knox county on the central coast of Maine have long been the major source of lime for the eastern United States and its need for plaster and mortar.  Many of the older brick buildings in the coastal cities of the US were built with Maine produced lime.

Blast Furnace
The early blast furnace used iron ore as the raw material.  Added to this is wood or charcoal (note that Katahdin Iron Works also has charcoal kilns.)  Lime played a key role in the iron production at Katahdin as the flux that was used to remove the impurities in the iron ore being produced in the blast furnace.  The lime would be mixed in with the iron ore and the charcoal.  The lime would liquefy, float on top of the molten iron, gather unwanted impurities originally in the iron ore, and then drain out of the blast furnace at an opening well above the outlet for the heavier molten iron in the lower parts of the blast furnace.  The final product is known as pig iron.

In Maine's Back Woods: Historic Iron Works Restored
by Victor A. Schlich
Thirty miles southwest of the main gateway to giant Baxter State Park, in the heart of Maine's tall timber country, lies a vivid reminder of the ravages of strip mining. Katahdin Iron Works is buried deep in the woods, yet it remains easily accessible by car or 4-wheel vehicle. 

A century and more ago miners peeled layer after layer, of iron and sulphur-rich earth which was reduced to pig iron in KIW smelters. Even today the scars left by miners remain ugly and exposed. Only here and there does a blade of grass try vainly to hide the angry red earth.

Part of Katahdin Iron Works has been carefully restored by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Recreation. Each year thousands drive six miles into the woods over a well maintained gravel roads in search of this fascinating bit of Maine history.

Despite odious clouds of sulphurous smoke that hung low over the area in its heyday, this certainly ranks as one of the world's most beautifully located iron works. The air today is crisp, clean and clear, heavy with the scent of pine.

blast furnace
The restored blast furnace at Katahdin
Iron Works in Maine
The iron works is off Maine Route 11, six miles north of Brownville Junction a stop on the Canadian Pacific Railroad branch that provides the only passenger rail service left in Maine.  [This is no longer correct, the passenger train has been discontinued.  There is passenger rail service now Boston to Portland.]  Millinocket, southern gateway to Baxter State Park, is 30 miles to the northeast along Route 11.

Once Thriving Settlement

Despite its wilderness location, Katahdin Iron Works was a thriving settlement in its peak years. It boasted its own post office, and there even was a photographer's salon.  A hotel offered accommodations for up to 100 guests at a time. The settlement printed its own scrip to pay miners and retail stores as far away as Bangor honored it in lieu of money.

Despite its industrial character, Katahdin Iron Works once was a resort area, too. Then as now, fishing and hunting were excellent.  The hotel advertised and got guests from as far away as Chicago. Bangor residents were frequent summer weekend visitors, especially after completion of a narrow gauge rail line linking the two sites.

All that remains of this past glory is an open field with a faithfully restored blast furnace and one of the many beehive kilns that consumed 10,000 cords of hardwood a year to produce the charcoal so essential in the smelting process.

Interpretive panels briefly retell the story of Katahdin Iron Works and its glory days.  Technical processes are explained in simple language.

Picnic by the River

The West Branch of the Penobscot River gurgles along one edge of the historic site.  Several birch-shaded spots invite visitors to enjoy picnic lunches along the river bank.

But there are some things the panels do not tell.

Even a brief walk through the wooded [Ed. note: we are missing a section of this article, starting here.]

...was done here, followed by a trip to the blast furnaces at Katahdin Iron Works where the ore was mixed with a limestone-silica flux to produce pig iron.

For almost half a century an average of 2,000 tons of raw pig iron was produced annually in ingots of 50 to 150 pounds. At first teams of oxen hauled the ingots out of the woods. Later, mule teams took over. Finally, the rail link to Bangor provided the transportation.

The iron works' location on the Penobscot's West Branch offers anyone willing to barter time and energy for adventure an opportunity to visit two unusual spots deep into the woods. But these trips must be made on foot or by 4-wheel vehicle.

About five miles away is The Hermitage, a 35-acre grove of tall white pine maintained by the Nature Conservancy. Another four miles beyond that is Gulf Hagas, a remote and spectacular canyon carved through slate by the passage of water for thousands of years.

Both The Hermitage and Gulf Hagas were deeded to Bowdoin College in 1813 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a land grant for educational purposes. They long since have passed into private hands.

Victor A. Schlich of South Portland, Maine, is a free-lance writer.

Iron Forge and Furnace in Clinton, Maine

"One of the town's oldest industries and, certainly the most unique, was the forge and foundry where bog iron was turned into bar iron.  It appears that Jonathan B. Cobb built the iron forge and furnace on the bank of the Fifteen Mile Stream.  The forge was not there when he bought the land from Isaiah Crooker, but when he sold a half interest in the business on October 1808 to Samuel Peavey of Vienna, the forge was in operation.  The factory was located on the south side of the stream a mile and one-half up the stream from the Kennebec River. ...Along with the property Cobb sold, went the privilege of plowing lands of Benjamin Dow and John Burrell.  the authority to plow land, presumably, was for the purpose of taking he bog iron from their land for processing at the forge." (Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine, pg. 183).

"In 1880 the editor of the Clinton Advertiser printed a letter from J.T., believed to have been John Totman, trader and long time resident at Pishon Ferry.

Mr. Editor:-As a forge and furnace in our town is nearly forgotten at the present time, and the excitement about silver, gold, lead, slate, etc., in our state is so great, might it not be well to look back, even for the young, and see what Clinton was seventy years ago. Then Clinton led all other towns for ores. Then iron was most needed of all metals. Then iron ore was in Clinton, and a furnace and forge was built, a new dam across the stream, a large building and houses for the workman, and coal burned. All the near surrounding was a wilderness, and as there was no newspaper it was heralded all over the state by the word of mouth.  Then iron was king almost. It was worth from 12 to 20 cents; nails from 25 to 50 cents, and nearly no money to buy with. This was the time of the embargo. Vessels were not allowed to go to sea. To sell or buy lumber would not pay for running from the mills. Staves was a large business before that, but many rotted on the bank of the rivers. Labor was cheap, wood for coal plenty, and was it any wonder that Clinton was a noted town? Then the prospect of having iron at home, and for labor and farm produce, was one of the things hoped for. This forge, if in operation now, would claim our attention. It was not only a furnace to melt the ore, but a forge to make bar iron. The great furnace and fire, the large bellows, driven by water power, the melted iron run out in the sand, the men hammering the pig with sledges to make it hold together to put under the hammer, with a handle fifteen feet long and twelve by fourteen inches square, and the huge spokes in the driving shaft to lift the hammer about four times in a minute. The hammer could be heard for miles. The pig, so called, was handled by four men with tongs and bars and placed under the hammer, and the shower of sparks and cinders cannot be forgotten as seen by my boy eyes. It proved unprofitable, and after the war of 1812, was abandoned, and caused the poet's lament.-
Their children are half frozen,
Barefooted every day;
And in each hut a dozen,
Their hair points every way.
When Peavey's forge was going,
They had something to eat;
But now the Major is done blowing,
They have neither bread nor meat. (Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine, pg. 184).

Pembroke Iron Works

The following is excerpts from the Pembroke Sesquicentennial Committee's Pembroke Sesquicentennial, pg. 7-9.

One of the natural assets of Pennamaquan was the river which flowed from the lake of that name into Cobscook Bay. Two falls on the river each offered a natural opportunity for water-powered industry.

...The power potential of the falls was soon recognized as worthy of something more important than a saw mill, for in 1828 the first effort was made to establish an iron works. A Philadelphia firm set up machinery, but the project was soon abandoned. Jonathan Bartlett of Eastport attempted a revival of manufacturing but without success until 1831, when he was joined by General Ezekiel Foster. That same year Theodore Lincoln sold to Foster for $20,000 some 1550 acres along both banks of the river including the falls. Three years later this effort also failed. In 1844 the company was purchased by Horace Gray of Boston, but again came failure three years later.

Finally, in 1849 William E. Coffin and Company of Boston became the owners with Lewis L. Wadsworth as the local agent. Under their able direction the Pembroke Iron Company prospered for more than thirty years. It employed at times as many as 300 workers. Many were skilled artisans from England who lived in a company compound of fifteen houses known as the "English Village" located near the Iron Works Church.

This is not the place to detail the complexities of the manufacturing operation which became so important to the economy of the newly-established town. Suffice it to note that in its prime the Iron Works operated night and day in three shifts and produced annually about 5,000 tons of iron in the form of manufactured products. Among them were cut nails, spikes, hinges, horseshoe iron, gas piping, shaft iron, anchor chain iron, and boiler rivets. An eye-witness account speaks of the rumbling noise of the rolling mill and at night of the furnaces glowing brilliantly from the tall stacks and lighting up the sky for miles around.

The Pembroke Iron Company owned a fleet of coastal vessels for the transport of its products.

These and other vessels loaded and unloaded their cargo at the Coal Wharf located on the east bank of Pennamaquan Bay. An ice-free winter wharf was located on the Garnett's Point road just south of Coggins' Head near the site of Isaiah Hersey's first cabin.

Soft coal from the Provinces was usually carried in foreign vessels which, since they returned empty, required temporary ballast for the voyage. To provide this, Jared Putnam Hersey built a wharf a little south of the Coal Wharf, and here the vessels were ballasted with gravel from a nearby pit.

Teams of horses transported the coal, pig iron, ore, and other supplies from the wharves to the mill and returned with finished products to be shipped to distant markets. John M. Morgan had the contract for the haulage and used eighteen to twenty-four draft horses and a large force of men. The stables were on the island above the dam.

On February 14, 1883, the residence of the company agent was destroyed by fire, a harbinger of the approaching end of the Iron Works. From the beginning the company had faced serious obstacles. Except for the water power, part of the labor force, and the charcoal which was first used for fuel, virtually nothing needed for operation was indigenous to the region; even much of the skilled labor was imported from England, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The finished products had to be shipped at considerable expense to faraway markets.

Finally in the 1880's these adverse circumstances became intolerable, especially the high cost of transportation. Increasing competition from iron manufacturers nearer the source of raw materials and profitable markets spelled the doom of the local company and in 1884 it ceased operations.

And from Gerald G. Wilder's, 1832 Pembroke 1932: A brief historical account.

"William E Coffin & Co. became the owners, in 1849. For some 30 years this company carried on  the Iron Works with more or less success. As many as 300 persons were employed at times, and the annual production did not vary much from 5,000 tons. Various products came from the works, but one of the largest was nails. Everything was made from the smallest tack to 9 1-2 inch spikes. The output was about 300 kegs each day. Hundreds of tons of 9-16 in., square Iron was made for shipping, to be made elsewhere into railroad spikes.  Round bars from 1-4 in. to 4 in. in diameter were produced in quantity. There was anchor chain iron, 2 1-2 in. in diameter, and cut to length for the links, for the Charlestown Navy Yard. There was 20 gauge flat iron, 1 in. wide for baling cotton; and iron 3 in. wide and 1 1-8 in. thick for manufacturing into axes. All of the nail machines were made in the machine shops on the spot." (pg. 21).

Sawtell, William R. Katahdin Iron Works: Boom to bust.
Sawtell, William R. Katahdin Iron Works revisited / compiled by William R. Sawtell.
Sawtell, William R. K. I. III.
Sawtell, William R. Katahdin Iron Works and Gulf Hagas: Before and beyond.
Sawtell, William R. Video: History of Katahdin Iron Works and Gulf Hagas.

For more on blast furnaces and the production of iron and steel go to the Davistown Museum's tool manufacturing chronology.

Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands: Katahdin Iron Works website

Southern Piscataquis County Chamber of Commerce description of Katahdin Iron Works including a nice photo of the charcoal kiln.

BBC animated description of a blast furnace using coke.

Description of a modern-day experiment in traditional ways of making charcoal and smelting.

Griggsville Landing lime kiln: this website describes various types of lime kilns.

Taylor's lime kiln: A nice description with photographs of a Texas lime kiln.

Lumbering in Maine

Note on the Peavey clan of timber harvesting toolmakers: The Registry of Maine Toolmakers lists numerous Peaveys and Peavey manufacturing companies with a wide variation in names. It is not known whether all the Peaveys listed in the Registry are related to each other, but one major tool company evolved first in Bangor and then in Eddington and manufactured timber harvesting tools from the mid-19th century until the present day. To supplement information in the following article, please visit our file on the Peavey Mfg. Co. of 1857, which is still in business in Eddington, Maine.

The lumber industry has been important to the state of Maine from when the first Europeans arrived until present day.  The following excerpts about the history of lumbering in Maine are from Richard G. Wood's 1935 text, A history of lumbering in Maine, 1820-1861.


The following excerpt about postash is from Richard G. Wood's 1935 text, A history of lumbering in Maine, 1820-1861.


The Davistown History Project - Help Wanted

The following categories of information wanted illustrate the parameters of the Davistown History Project.  If you have any information, letters, documents, photographs, maps, artifacts, tools or stories pertaining to the early history of the Davistown History Project, please contact the Museum.

Topics of Interest -- Information wanted

The Davistown History Project (DHP) welcomes contributions pertaining to the following.