PART II, CHAPTER 19.
PUBLIC LANDS, ROADS, BRIDGES, ETC.
In addition to the ministerial lot, lot for the first settled minister, and the school lot which were granted to Brunswick and Topsham, there was another tract of land given to the town of Brunswick to be owned in common by the inhabitants, and sundry pieces of marsh land, which did not come into the lots as laid out by the proprietors in the several towns, were allowed to be used in common by the settlers upon whose lands they bordered.
BRUNSWICK Town Commons. - The Town Commons of Brunswick originated in a vote of the proprietors, May 8, 1719, "That one Thousand Acres of Land with in the Township of Brunswick be Laid out; To Ly in General & perpetual comonage to ye sd Town of Brunswick Forever."1
Nothing further was done until February 3, 1742, when the proprietors passed a vote that "the one thousand Acres as laid down in the Plan of the Township of Brunswick which was granted by the Proprietors of Brunswick the eighth day of May 1719 be reserved for a General and perpetual Commonage to the Town of Brunswick forever."2
No further action was taken until June 10, 1771, when, at a meeting of the proprietors, it was voted that their agent be authorized to execute a deed of the 1,000 acres given for a Town Commons to any committee appointed by the town to receive it.3
The next year the town at its annual meeting voted to choose a committee "to lay out that 1,000 acres of land that was granted to this town by the Proprietors for a town commonage." It will be noticed that this committee was not chosen to receive a deed of the land.
In 1773 the town voted to accept the gift of the Commons and of
1. Brunswick Records in Pejepscot Collection.
3. Pejepscot Records.
the roads, granted the town by the proprietors, with the proviso that the town should not be obliged to clear any roads which were not needed.
In 1774 the selectmen were instructed to lay out the 1,000 acres of Commons and have it marked and a plan made in order that the town might get a deed of it.
At a town meeting, held May 12, 1778, it was voted to have the Commons laid out, but the clause in the warrant relative to applying to the proprietors for a deed was laid on the table till the next meeting. At a meeting, held on the tenth of June, of this year, it was voted "to lay out the Commons agreeable to the minutes that were read, viz: -Said Commons to be bounded on the head of Middle Bay lots and to extend northerly between and adjoyning upon the lots that fronts upon the twelve rod road and the lots that fronts upon Mericonege Marshes and upon the lots that fronts upon New Meadows River until 1000 acres be completed." Captain James Thompson protested against this vote. Captain William Stanwood, Jr., Mr. Andrew Dunning, and Captain John Simmons were chosen a committee to superintend the laying out of the Commons, and Stephen Getchell was chosen as the surveyor. At a meeting, held December 25, it was voted to accept the survey of the Commons as laid out by the above-named committee. It was also voted "not to accept of a deed of said Commons from Doctor Noyes by Esquire Hinkley's survey"; and Thomas Skolfleld, Deacon Samuel Stanwood, and Andrew Dunning were chosen a committee to correspond with Doctor Belcher Noyes, proprietors' clerk, concerning the Commons.
At the annual meeting in 1779 the selectmen were directed to procure a deed of the Commons as soon as possible, and the committee that was chosen to lay out the Commons were directed to complete their work as soon as possible. The selectmen were also instructed to take the most effectual way to secure for the benefit of the town the lumber growth on the Commons. In response to the notification of the selectmen, Belcher Noyes, the proprietors' agent, executed the following deed:-
"TO ALL PERSONS TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME BELCHER NOYES OF BOSTON IN THE COUNTY OF SUFFOLK & COMMONWEALTH OF THE MASSACHUSETTS ESQ
"Whereas in the first Settlement of the Town of Brunswick there was allowed & granted by the Original Proprietors of said Township One thousand Acres of Land within the said Township to be laid out,
to lay in general and perpetual Commonage: And whereas the said Proprietors at their meeting duly warned according to law held by Adjournment at Boston June 10th 1771 Voted, That Belcher Noyes Esq be and hereby is impowered to execute a Deed of said one thousand acres as laid down in the plan of said Township to the Selectmen of said Town of Brunswick in trust for that purpose.
"Now know yee, That I the said Belcher Noyes, in pursuance of said vote impowering me hereunto, and to the intent that the Town of Brunswick may hold & enjoy the Benefitt of said Grant of one thousand acres of Land for the purpose above mentioned, for & in consideration of Twenty shillings by me received of Nathaniel Larrabee, Andrew Duning, & William Standwood, the present Selectmen of the Town of Brunswick in the County of Cumberland & said Commonwealth Do by these presents Grant convey & confirm unto the said Nathaniel Larrabee, Andrew Duning, & William Standwood, the Selectmen of said Town of Brunswick in Trust to and for the use & improvement of the Inhabitants of said Town forever One thousand acres of Land within the said Town of Brunswick as described & laid down in the Plan of said Township taken by James Scales Surveyor, as follows vizt:
"Extending from the rear Line of the Lotts at Maquoit & Middle Bay, on a course northeast till you come to the County road, leading to New Meadows, including all the Land bounding Northwest on the rear of the Lotts on Maquoit road & Southeast on the rear of the Lotts at New Meadows up to said county road, to bound northeast on said county road according to the course thereof & southwest on the rear line of the Lotts at Maquoit & Middle Bay. And in case there should be more than one thousand acres of Land contained in said Bounds above described, the overplus be it more or less is hereby appropriated & granted for the support of the Gospel in the said Town of Brunswick forever: that is to say, To the use & improvement of the Reverend Mr. John Miller the present Pastor of the Church in said Town of Brunswick & his successors in said office forever.
"To Have and to Hold the said one thousand acres of Land & no more as above described, unto them the said Nathaniel Larrabee, Andrew Duning, & William Standwood, the present Selectmen of the Town of Brunswick & their Successors in said office forever to and for the use and improvement of the Inhabitants of said Town of Brunswick forever and no otherwise. And the overplus Quantity contained in said Bounds more than said one thousand acres to be
and remain for the support of the gospel ministry in said town as above mentioned forever: And it is the true intent and meaning of these presents: That the said Inhabitants of said Town of Brunswick shall hold the said one thousand acres of Land above mentioned free and clear of and from any claim or Demand of the said Proprietors of said Town of Brunswick their respective Heirs and assigns forever in as full and ample a manner as the same is derived to them by any ways or means whatsoever. And in Testimony that this Deed shall be held good & valid by them the said Proprietors of said Town of Brunswick at all times hereafter, I the said Belcher Noyes by virtue of the said vote impowering me hereunto do sett my hand & seal to this Instrument as their Act and Deed this fourth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred eighty one.
and a seal
"Signed Sealed & Delivered
in presence of us,
"SUFFOLK ss Nov 20 1783
"Then the above named Belcher Noyes Esq. acknowledged this Instrument Executed by him to be his Act & Deed
After receiving this deed, the town appears to have taken no further measures in regard to the land until 1808. At the annual meeting of that year, however, a committee was appointed "to apply to the Grantors of the Town Commons, Ministry and School lots, and Marsh," for permission to sell and dispose of them, the interest arising from the fund thus obtained to be appropriated for the use of the schools or in such other way as the town might think proper. A Committee was also chosen to ascertain the limits of the Commons, in order to ascertain if there was any surplus land for the First Parish. No reply of the proprietors to the request for permission to sell the lands referred to above has been found, but it is evident that no permission was given so far as the sale of the Town Commons was concerned.
In 1811, Isaac Gates, Esquire, and Peter O. Alden, Esquire, were chosen agents of the town to petition the legislature for authority to divide, set off, and convey to the president and trustees of Bowdoin College the two hundred acres of the Commons, which by vote of the
town, May 2, 1791, afterwards confirmed by a vote of the proprietors, was granted to the before mentioned officers of the college.
On July 4, 1834, the committee chosen by the town at the annual meeting in May, to examine into the bounds of the Town Commons, reported substantially as follows, after recapitulating the foregoing votes of the town and of the proprietors.
They state that the land was not measured until February, 1741, when Scales's plan of the town was made, at which time the Commons were located.. They say that this plan had governed the proprietors in making all their deeds and grants, and that a copy of this plan was the only one ever recognized by the town. At or soon after the time the town received the deed of the land, several surveys were made of the Commons, one of which was made by Stephen Getchell for the town. The proprietors employed Aaron Hinkley and John Merrill to survey the Commons. These two surveys were made from the same description, but differed from each other by the amount of four hundred and ninety-nine acres. As the town and proprietors could not agree as to the contents of what was included within the given boundaries of the Commons, and as the proprietors were unwilling, in consequence of a disagreement with the town in regard to the taxation of their lands, to deed any more than the 1,000 acres which they had previously granted, they agreed, in order to settle the controversy, upon the boundaries as settled in the deed, but with the reservation that any surplus that there might be should "go to the support of the gospel in said town of Brunswick forever."
The Commons remained without any authorized survey on the part of the town until 1811, when the legislature of Massachusetts empowered Jacob Abbot and John Perry, Jr., to set off to Bowdoin College its two hundred acres. They performed their duty, and monuments were placed around the two hundred acres. In 1816 a committee of the First Parish applied to the town to join them in setting off the overplus of the Town Commons. This was done October 28 of that year. The object of the parish was effected, and they sold the overplus to Mr. John Given, and their boundaries were still kept up, though at that time the Commons were without permanent boundaries. The committee proceed to state that they had followed the courses of the previous committees, and had measured their distances, but found them leading far from the truth, no two reputed monuments or marks of trees agreeing with each other. They decided not to make a new survey on account of the expense and owing to the fact that the old First Parish would have reaped the benefits at the town's expense.
They recommended that before having the Commons surveyed, the town should procure a quitclaim deed from the First Parish of any further right than they had already received. Also, that when a survey was made, permanent monuments should be placed at all the corners, and a plan of the survey be reported to the town. This report of the committee was accepted by the town.
A committee was chosen by the town this year to examine the Com-mons in regard to the practicability and advisability of having the town farm there. This committee reported in August of that year, and the town ordered the report to be printed, and instructed the selectmen to have the Commons surveyed. The selectmen were also directed to petition the legislature for permission to use the Commons for agricultural purposes, or to dispose of it, should the town ever so direct. The prayer of this petition was not granted. They were directed, moreover, to "procure a release of the Town Commons, to sell if the town think best at a future time, from the Pejepscot Proprietors." The town also instructed the selectmen to demand a rent from all persons who had improved any part of the Commons, and to cause the removal of all who did not pay the rent.
At the annual meeting of the town in 1857, Abner B. Thompson, John C. Humphreys, William G. Barrows, Samuel R. Jackson, Richard Greenleaf, and John McKeen were appointed a committee to investigate all matters relating to the Town Commons, ascertain what title the town had to the same, and the boundaries thereof, what encroachments had been made thereon, and all other facts relating to the subject, and were instructed to make a report at some future meeting of the town.
It was also voted at this meeting to petition the legislature to give the town a more full and absolute control of the use and disposal of the Commons, and enable them to receive more benefit from this grant from the proprietors than they could do with the land as it had been. This petition met with the same fate as the earlier one of similar tenor.
The committee to examine into the condition of the Commons reported in 1858. In their report they say that the Commons had been for more than a hundred years a fruitful source of perplexity, trouble, and expense to the town. Though designed for the benefit of the whole, a few had taken the lion's part, stripped it of its wood and timber, and used it otherwise as would best subserve their purposes. The expenses of looking after it had probably been thousands of dollars, and all that had been done resulted in nothing.
Depredations had continued from year to year, and continual complaints would be made until some disposition was made which would more effectually secure to the town the enjoyment of it. Until this was done it would continue to be a source of expense, instead of income, to the town.
The committee say that in their preliminary examination for the boundaries of the Commons, it was found difficult to find many of its monuments; many of them had been removed, and the purported boundaries, as given by those living in the proximity of the Commons, failed to give the proper number by nearly or more than one hundred acres. It was found necessary to search for such surveys as had been formerly made. After much trouble and investigation they had accepted the survey of Daniel Given, as settled and agreed to by the First Parish and town, in 1816, and they therefore presented the survey of Charles J. Noyes, which they had unanimously agreed to adopt as part of their report, and they recommended that the town should accept the Given survey as the correct survey of the Commons.
The committee give an account of all the transactions of the town in regard to the Commons, and in relation to the deed they remark, "A conveyance in terms so ample would seem impossible to be construed, except as giving the town the fullest scope and authority in determining the manner in which the 'use and improvements' for the common benefit should be made." They state that the surplus for the "support of the gospel ministry" amounted to about one hundred and ninety-seven acres. They submitted their report without any further recommendation than what has been given. The town accepted the report, and voted also that their agent be empowered and directed to enter into references with the parties whose lots abutted on the Commons, and in case any of these parties declined to refer the matter, the agent was instructed to institute legal proceedings to maintain and protect the rights of the town. It was also voted that when the lines were authoritatively ascertained, the selectmen should cause permanent stone monuments to be erected, to mark clearly the boundaries of the Commons. In accordance with this vote a few monuments were erected, but the Commons remain now, as they always have been, unmarked by any clearly defined bounds. Whether encroachments and depredations upon them have been stayed is not known. If proper measures are taken to prevent further encroachments upon it, the time is certain to come when the whole tract will be of great value and utility as a public park.1
1. Persons interested in this matter of the Town Commons will find the Surveyor's
Report on pages 39 and 40 of Volume 5 of Town Records.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to locate with certainty many of the roads which were constructed in the last century. With a few exceptions the records are extremely indefinite upon this point. The line of a road was generally indicated by notched trees, piles of stones, stakes driven into the ground, and similar landmarks, which have long since passed away.
With the assistance of Mr. Charles J. Noyes, C.E., -than whom there is no better authority,- we are enabled to give the following account of the more important roads and streets, and we believe that this account is as correct as it is possible at this late day to make it.
The first regular road was constructed in 1717, by order of the proprietors, who voted, June 3, to have a twelve-rod road laid out from the "southerly bastion of Fort George in a straight line to Maquoit," and to have a fence erected from the southerly bastion of the fort over to a small house occupied by Wymond Bradbury, which stood where the cottage now is, at the top of the hill leading to the bridge. This was determined to be the end of the Twelve-Rod road, now Maine Street.1
At the same time a road was laid out from the Fort to the Landing-Place, and from the Fort to the Indian Carrying-Place. This road corresponded with what are now Mill, Mason, and Water Streets. The road was originally laid out in a straight line, east and west, and crossed the cove opposite to the end of Mill Street,2 but it could not have been travelled so on account of the steep declivity on the eastern side of the cove, and the travelled road was, doubtless, from the very first, substantially the same as at present.
A four-rod road was also, in 1717, laid out to run east and west on the south side of the tenth lot, to extend the length of the lot.3 This was what is now known as McKeen Street, on the west side of Maine Street, and it then continued directly across what is now the college grounds in a straight line to the river. Traces of that portion of the road are still to be found. At some time, date unknown, the road across the college grounds was closed up, and what is known as Pine Street, from the Village Cemetery to Varney's Cemetery, was opened in its place.
In 1717 the proprietors made an agreement with
1. Pejepscot Records, and Brunswick Records in Pejepscot Collection.
2. Map No. 19 in Pejepscot Collection.
3. Pejepscot Records.
Lieurtenant Joseph Heath for him "to cut a Road or Way through the Woods at least Ten feet broad, clear it, bridge it, & make it passable for Men & Cattle from Fort George the Upperway to Ryalls River being judged about Twenty miles in Length [provided the Men at Ryalls River will engage at their charge to cut & clear a Road from thence to Presumpscot River] for which when finished we will allow sd Heath Fourty pounds."1 According to McKeen,2 this road began at the twelve-rod road, about where General Joshua L. Chamberlain now resides, passed along the high land, westerly, to avoid the swamp, then turned a little towards the river and followed nearly the line of the present Freeport road, but more circuitously, passing over the bill where is now the "deep cut" of the railroad, thence by Oak Hill to Freeport.
Subsequently, probably not far from 1770, the portion of the road from General Chamberlain's towards the river was discontinued, and the travel came in by what is now Mill Street. In Given's map of Brunswick (1795), this was the only road to Yarmouth. The route was about as follows, using present localities as a guide. It went along Mill Street to a short distance above the upper railroad bridge, thence along the shore and back of Jackson's burying-ground (where the road is still to be seen), thence westerly, passing along in front of Samuel Blaisdell's house, and so on to the deep cut and thence in nearly a straight course to Walter Merryman's, then easterly over the hill, coming out by James Littlefield's, and then about as now travelled to Lewis Morse's just in front of his house, and then about as now travelled to Freeport.
In 1739, at the first meeting of the, town in its corporate capacity, it was "voted that the roads should lay as they were laid out by John Gatchell, James Thompson, and Benjamin Parker."3 When the roads were laid out by them is not stated, but it could not have been many years previously. The roads enumerated were:-
First. -A road from New Meadows to the twelve-rod road. This road began at what is now known as Howard's Point (south of the present residence of Bartlett Adams), passed around the head of Cluff's Bay, and then ran a north-northwest course to Cook's Corner, from whence it ran across the plains in an indirect line to the Twelve-Rod road, which it entered near the present meeting-house of the First Parish4 From this road were two branches, one leading to the Twelve--Rod road a short distance south of the, colleges, opposite the
1. Pejepscot Records.
2. Pejepscot Papers; also Map No. 21., Pejepscot Collection.
3. Town Records, 1,p. 6.
4. Map No. 24, Pejepscot Collection.
Samuel Berry estate, and the other entering the Twelve-Rod road near the old First Parish Meeting-House. Both these branches are in existence, but untravelled.
Second. -A road from Stevens's Carrying-Place to Coombs's (now Howard's) Point. This was substantially the same as the road which now runs from Bartlett Adams's, up the river, passing Chapin Wes-ton's, and so on to the head of New Meadows River.
Third. -A road leading from the Gurnet northerly, in about a straight line, till it intercepted the road leading from New Meadows to the Twelve-Rod road.
Fourth. -A road leading from the old west meeting-house to Middle Bay. It ran about the same courses as the present road, but entered the Twelve-Rod road nearer the meeting-house.
Fifth. -What is now known as the old Harpswell road, from the Twelve-Rod road below the old west meeting-house to Harpswell Neck.
These roads were not formally accepted by the town and their courses recorded until several years later.
The town was occasionally "presented" for bad roads. At the January session of the Court of General Sessions in 1739, "Benjamin Larrabee, Esquire, one of the selectmen of the town of Brunswick, appeared to answer the presentment exhibited against the said town for deficiency in the highway in. said town, leading to North Yarmouth, and the said selectmen having promised to see the sd way mended; ordered that they be acquitted paying fees of Court, two pounds eleven shillings."
At the town meeting in 1744, an order having been issued by the Court of General Sessions, for a highway between Brunswick and Georgetown, Deacon Samuel Whitney and Captain William Woodside were appointed a committee to lay out the same. There is no record of the action taken by this committee, but it is probable that they simply made passable the road previously laid out, as that was the only road to Georgetown, now Bath, for many years subsequently.
Not far from this time, though possibly a little later, there was a road from the New Meadows River straight over to the Androscoggin, at a point nearly opposite James Mustard's in Topsham.1 Here was a ferry. It is probable that the line struck the New Meadows River a short distance above Mr. Bartlett Adams's house, which was only a short distance above Brown's Ferry, across the New Meadows River.
In 1753 the inhabitants of Mair Point consented to give a free road,
1. Map No. 11, Pejepscot Collection.
ROADS IN 1764.
one rod wide, to the lower end of the Point, and to maintain sufficient gates on any fences which crossed the road, and the town voted to be at the charge of keeping the road in repair. In 1767 this road was made two rods wide.
In 1759 the road was laid out which leads from Nathan Woodward's by Gatchell's Pond and Washington Woodward's estate to the New Meadows River road.
In 1760 the road from Maquoit Landing to Bunganock was laid out substantially as it now is, but at that time there was a branch road from a short distance below N. Blake's over to the Twelve-Rod road near the Maquoit school-house. This branch was subsequently discontinued, but at what time is not known. The location of the roads described in the preceding pages can be readily understood by reference to the map of roads which is given on the preceding page.
What is now known as the Pennell road, from the old Harpswell road to Pennellville, was laid out in 1770.
In the year 1773, on the petition of Jonathan Bagley and of others who were interested in the lands on the river, the town voted to accept the road to Durham, which had been constructed by the petitioners. This was the river road to Durham, which then ran close to the river on the intervales, and was very crooked. Changes in the courses were subsequently made.
The lower road to Freeport, starting a short distance above the old west meeting-house, and passing by Albion P. Woodside's and so on to Freeport, was laid out about the year 1794. Mrs. J. D. Lamb distinctly remembers walking through it when it was first laid out. She was then a child, nine or ten years old. The road was cut through a dense forest for nearly its whole length. It was not made passable for carriages for a number of years later. Mr. Lewis Simpson says the road was not completed until 1806. He remembers that the laborers upon the road ceased work during the great solar eclipse which occurred that year.
In the year 1789 a second county road was laid out from Cook's Corner to Bath, but it was not made passable until 1795.1 The town in 1790 opposed the building of this road. The road is not shown in Given's plan of Brunswick, which was made in May, 1795, so that it was not probably a travelled road until some months subsequently. This road ran up by Martin Storer's, and then in a very circuitous line
1. Maine historical Collection, Val. 2, p. 219. Lemont's Historical Dates of Bath, p. 41.
to a short distance north of Ham's Hill, where it entered the old county road which passed around the head of New Meadows River. Portions of this road are still in existence and travelled.
In 1794 the road from Oak Hill to Bunganock was laid out, and in 1796 the road from Bunganock to Growstown was laid out.
In the year 1800 the road from L. D. Alexander's to E. C. Raymond's was laid out, and in 1802 what is called the Otis road was laid out. The "Friends' road," from the Durham River road to Freeport, was laid out in 1805.
The turnpike to Bath, sometimes called Governor King's turnpike, was built in 18051 or 1806. Mr. Lewis Simpson distinctly recollects that at the first Commencement at Bowdoin College, in 1806, two men who were engaged in building this road came up to spend the alternoon. This turnpike was well made, and the road-bed was hard and smooth. It went through the woods nearly all the way east of Cook's Corner. The road now travelled from Brunswick to Cook's Corner and straight on to New Meadows River is a part of the old turnpike The turnpike bridge was a few rods south of the railroad bridge. The gate and toll-house were at the west end of the bridge.
According to Lemont,2 a second turnpike was built in 1806 from Bath to Brunswick, crossing the New Meadows River at Brown's Ferry. It is not probable that there was, at that time, a second turnpike in Bath, and there is no evidence that another turnpike was built in Brunswick. The bridge at Brown's Ferry was built previous to that of Governor King, and only the abutments and piers remained in 1808-9. It is more probable that what Lemont calls the second turnpike was a shunpike, as it is well known that, to avoid paying toll, travellers from Brunswick left the turnpike at Cook's Corner and crossed the river at Brown's Ferry. It was owing to this fact that General King established a gate on the turnpike west of Cook's Corner. That expedient proved of no avail, however, as travellers thereafter drove across the plains to Cook's Corner, and then down to Brown's Ferry, thus avoiding both toll-gates.
In 1810 an alteration was made in the upper county road to Bath, so that it crossed the New Meadows River a short distance above Ham's Hill, over a bridge called Hayden's Bridge, and in 1831 the road was straightened and laid out over Ham's Hill, as it is now. The Bull Rock Bridge road was laid out in 1836.3
In 1837 the New Wharf road was laid out.
1. Lemont, Historical Dates of Bath, p. 41.
In 1843 a petition was granted by the Court of General Sessions for Lincoln County, for a road from High Street in Bath, over the Bull Bridge, through Brunswick to Freeport.
At what time guide-boards were first used is not known, but in 1814 the town instructed the selectmen to repair and erect guideboards wherever necessary, showing that some, at least, had been erected previously to that date.
TWELVE-ROD ROAD. -Maine Street, or the Twelve-Rod road, owing to its location and the fact that nearly all the measurements and estimates of distances are based upon it, is entitled to a more extended consideration than the other roads of the town. All the lots at the laying out of the town were connected with lot number one, which commenced at a point twenty-seven rods south from the flag-staff upon Fort George. Therefore both the lots and the roads take their start from one and the same point, - a bastion of the old fort. In order to a complete understanding of the matter, it will be well to enumerate the various votes in regard to this road that have been passed by the town, or by the proprietors, since it was originally laid out in 1717. The first public action in regard to this road was taken at a legal meeting of the inhabitants of the township, held May 8, 1719. At this meeting it was voted:-
"That whereas ye Proprietors have allowed a road 12 Rod wide from Fort George to Maquoit as also sundry other private ways henceforth no incumbrance shall be Erected or Continued in any of the said Wayes."
At the town meeting in 1740 it was voted that the main road from Fort George to Maquoit should be twelve rods wide. This vote was evidently intended to be merely confirmatory of the original action of the proprietors in laying it out of that width. At a meeting of the Pejepscot proprietors on November 14 of this year, it was voted by them that
"Whereas a Road of 12 Rods wide was granted by the Proprietors June 3, 1717, from Fort George over to Maquoit and said road has not been improved as was originally laid out Therefore voted, That said Road run from the Southerly Bastion of said Fort George on a Streight Line over to Maquoit and that the Surveyour be directed to enter it upon the Platt accordingly."
This vote of the proprietors was not literally carried out. There is no evidence that the road was actually laid out in one straight line, and it is certain that it was never so travelled. All of the early plans locate the road as starting, on its western line, at the southwest bastion of Fort George, and running due south across the present depot
grounds, to a point a short distance south of the residence of Professor A. S. Packard, and from thence a southwest course to Maquoit. At that time, and until the year 1826, there was a swamp extending from the present eastern line of the mall to the foot of Powder-House Hill, and to avoid this swamp the travel went out to one side, and passed along what is now called Park Row, on the eastern side of the mall, and thus the eastern line of this portion of the road was established much farther east than it was originally laid out.
Although the road had been laid out by the proprietors and had been built and used by the town, it was not formally accepted as a public highway until 1769. This road being of an unusual width, and much wider than was at all necessary for mere purposes of travel, the town in 1791 was induced to do what would be considered by many as a very unwise thing. It chose a committee and instructed them to lease six rods in width of this road, "where they think it best, leaving the road six rods wide at such places."
In April, 1792, the town appointed a committee to lay out the road again, from Fort George to Maquoit, eight rods in width, thus reducing the width four rods. This committee reported at the subsequent meeting in May, and the town voted to accept the road as laid out by them, with an amendment to the effect that two rods should be added to the road on the west side, between Mr. Stone's and Mr. Lunt's, and with some minor changes near the Maquoit shore.
The land between Mr. Stone's and Mr. Lunt's was that between Mill Street and the Pejepscot National Bank. On the other side of the street, in front of Day's Block, was a deep gully which increased in depth till it entered the cove in front of what is now Maynard's oyster saloon, opposite Mill Street. Encroachments had been made on the opposite side of the street so that the narrowness of the road and its sideling nature rendered travelling dangerous. It is known that accidents had at various times occurred there. In 1806 the town voted to pay fifty-nine dollars and fifty-three cents to Zephaniah Spurr, of Boston, for damages to his carriage, it having been driven off the bank and injured, owing to the bad condition of the road. It is probable that Mr. Stone and Mr. Lunt had leased a portion of the road, and that the town regretted its action and annulled the lease.
In 1793 the town voted to accept this eight-rod road, as laid out with the amendments, and the surveyors of highways were directed to open the road agreeably to the plan, which was "eight rods wide from end to end except at the landing-place at Maquoit which is twelve rods wide." A committee was also chosen to lease or quitclaim the
remaining four rods of the old Twelve-Rod road. It is not known how much of the road was thus leased or quitclaimed. The only deed which we have seen was one to Lemuel Swift of "four rods of the twelve rod road, lying in front of Mr. Benjamin Stone's land, and situated between the land of John Carr and Captain John Dunlap's land, being twenty square rods at seventeen dollars per acre."1 This was the front of what is now the Rodney Forsaith estate, between Dr. Lincoln's and Benjamin Green's.
In 1794, Benjamin Chase, one of the surveyors of highways, was directed to open the Twelve-Rod road the full width wherever people had not purchased the four rods, and where they had, to open it eight rods wide. It was also voted that all persons desiring to purchase the four rods in width that had not been sold could do so by applying for the same within fourteen days.
In 1804 the west line of Maine Street, as it now is, between Noble and Pleasant Streets, was accepted by the town.
In 1810, to put on record the locality from whence the measurements of the road and town lots started, the following paper was entered on the town records:-
"Whereas the Record of the West line of the twelve Rod Road from Brunswick Falls to Maquoit Bay, as laid out by the Proprietors of Brunswick, mention the Flag staff standing in the south West Bastion in Fort George as the point at which they began their survey; and whereas the bounds and Lines of many Lotts and parcels of Land are ascertained by admeasurement from that point before mentioned; and whereas Fort George and the Flag staff are demolished, and it may be of Great importance to render the precise point where the Flag staff in said Fort George stood permanent, therefore, be it remembered that we John Abbot, John Perry Jr. and Jacob Abbot, all of said Brunswick in the County of Cumberland and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, have this day applied to John Dunlap Esq of said Brunswick who was a soldier in said Fort George, when a young man, and lives nigh the plat of Ground where said Fort stood, and hath been frequently on the premises; and to Cutting Noyes, who lives nigh the premises and assisted in removing the piece of Timber the said flagg staff was framed into:- and the said John Dunlap Esq and Cutting Noyes have designated, according to the best of their judgement and they say they think the spot where the foot of said flagg staff stood, and to render it permanent, we the said John Abbot, John Perry Junr
1. Original deed in the possession of John L. Swift, Esq.
and Jacob Abbot have drilled a hole in the ledge or Rock and drove an Iron bolt of about one Inch and one Quarter Diameter and about Eighteen Inches in length, half the length into said Ledge or Rock, the other half above the surface in the Identical spot shown to us as the place under which said Flagg Staff stood.
"JOHN PERRY JUNR
"BRUNSWICK Novr 23d 1810
"A True Copy
"DAN'L GIVEFN, Town Clerk.
| JOHN GIVEEN||}Selectmen."
| JOSEPH HACKER||}|
This bolt will be found "opposite to the space between two of the factory boarding-houses at the north end of Maine Street and distant southerly from the southwest corner of the easterly house twenty-eight and one third feet, where a line from the southeast corner of the westerly house will intersect the first line in twenty-six feet, thence to the house on the corner of Maine and Bow Streets, sixty-six feet; or by measuring easterly from and in line of the south face of Cabot Mill seventy-six and two tenths feet, and from one to two feet beneath the surface of the ground."
In 1819, Abner Bourne, Robert D. Dunning, David Dunlap, Robert Eastman, and Samuel Chase were chosen a committee to ascertain the boundaries of the Twelve-Rod road and to recommend measures for the prevention of further encroachments on the road, and were instructed to report at the next annual meeting. No record is made of their report.
In 1822 the selectmen were authorized to direct a survey of this road between Jacob Abbot's2 and Robert D. Dunning's, and to receive a quitclaim deed, provided it could be done without any expense to the town except for the writing of the deed and the survey.
In 1845 the Twelve-Rod road, or that part of it called Maine Street, was again surveyed, this time by Elijah P. Pike, under the direction of the selectmen, and the survey was accepted by the town.
In 1858 two rows of trees were set out on this street from the Congregational Church to the end of the college grounds. This was done by private subscription.
1. From Field Book of Charles J. Noyes, C. E.
2. Now the residence of Captain A. H. Merryman.
The foregoing comprises all important facts in relation to this Twelve-Rod road with the exception of the origin of
In 1802 there was a board fence from the northeast corner of Robert D. Dunning's house, on the hill, to the head of the present Mall. It continued, much as the fence now runs on the easterly side of the Mall, to Schwartkin's store, where the store of George B. Tenney now is. The Mall was at that time an alder-swamp which extended as far west as the foot of Powder-House Hill, and nearly as far north as Pleasant Street. Cows often had to be pried out of the mud where the Mall is. Mr. C. J. Noyes informs us that, in 1846, when surveying the line of the railroad between Maine and Union Streets, he sank into the mud and water over the tops of his rubber boots. It is said that in this swamp the old settlers used to take beaver.
On the Fourth of July, 1826, the citizens united in a general assault upon this deformity of the village, and assembling at an early hour, with shovels, hoes, oxen, ploughs, and carts, they worked diligently until noon. Then the company listened to a speech from Robert Orr, Esquire, after which they partook of a lunch and dispersed. A second gathering of the kind was held on the next Fourth of July, and after half a day's hard work the company marched to the meetinghouse, stacked their arms (shovels, hoes, picks, etc.) in military style before entering, and listened to an oration from Mr. Edward Kent, then a student in the law-office of Honorable Benjamin Orr. The work thus begun was completed by private enterprise. The project of enclosing the open area and of planting trees was started at a strawberry party in 1838; and the fence was erected and the trees set out in the spring of 1839.1 The work was assigned to a committee of three, -Doctor Isaac Lincoln, Joseph Griffin, and John S. Cushing. It cost about four hundred dollars to fence and grade it and to plant the trees. Nearly all the trees then set out are in a flourishing condition now. The committee devoted their whole time for three weeks to superintending the work, and then were obliged to make up a small deficit in the funds. The row of trees on the western side of the Mall was set out by Mr. Cushing. While the work was progressing, Mr. Cushing was married, and Doctor Adams, the officiating clergyman, at the conclusion of the ceremony, remarked that he himself desired to work for the Mall, and therefore presented his fee towards that object.
1. Brunswick Telegraph, June 25, 1853.
Nothing further was done to the Mall until 1867, when the fence around it was rebuilt.
In 1873 the selectmen, in their annual report, use the following language in regard to the Mall, to which report sufficient attention has not been paid. They say:-
"The Mall ought to be put under the care of some person of judgment and taste, and attention given to its condition. If the grounds were kept clean and smooth, the walks trimmed, and seats erected in different parts, what is now unsightly and of no particular interest to any one, will be made an ornament and become a point to which our people will gravitate for rest and recreation during the heat of summer, and in which we shall all feel a just pride."
Some of the streets in Brunswick were laid out as private ways at an early date, and although named by the town and repaired from time to time by the road surveyors of the town, have never yet been formally accepted by it. This fact will account for the omission, in some cases, of the date of laying out or of acceptance of some of these streets. It has been found impossible to obtain the date of construction of these private streets. As to the legal liability of the town in regard to most of them, we presume there can now be little doubt.
For convenience the streets in Brunswick will be treated in alphabetical order.
BATH STREET is a part of Governor King's turnpike, which was laid out in 1806. The name is applied to that portion of the road between the First Parish Meeting-House and Pine Grove Cemetery.
BANK STREET was laid out by the late David Dunlap, Esquire, over his own land. It has never been accepted by the town, and in 1867 the town refused to accept it as a highway.
BOW STREET was laid out in 1819, and accepted by the town under its present name in 1821. Slight changes in the courses of this street were made in 1824 and in 1830.
BOODY STREET was accepted by the town in 1853. It was named in honor of Mr. Henry H. Boody, who was then a professor in Bowdoin College, and resided on the corner of Maine and this new street.
CLEAVELAND STREET was laid out early in this century, but precisely when we cannot ascertain. It was in 1821 named Cross Street. Its present name was given to it in 1869 in honor of Professor Parker Cleaveland, who lived on Federal Street opposite the end of this street.
CENTRE STREET was laid out as a private road in 1810. In 1821 it was named by the town Centre Street, and in 1839 it was accepted by the town.
CUSHING STREET was laid out and accepted by the town in 1847. It was named in honor of Mr. John S. Cushing.
CEDAR STREET was laid out and accepted in 1845.
COLLEGE STREET was laid out in 1831.
DUNLAP STREET was originally laid out by General Richard T. Dunlap as a private way, and its name was given to it by the town as a mark of respect.
DUNNING STREET was laid out in 1844. It was named for Mr. Robert D. Dunning.
ELM STREET was laid out in 1843.
EVERETT STREET, named in honor of Ebenezer Everett, Esquire, was laid out and accepted by the town in 1865.
ELLIOT STREET was laid out in 1858. It was named in honor of Colonel Daniel Elliot.
FRANKLIN STREET was laid out and accepted in 1846.
FEDERAL STREET was laid out and accepted in 1803. The proprietors of the land gave the land and made the road. The street received its name in 1821. Referring to this street, a writer in 1820 says, "I understand the original proprietors of the land made it a condition in their grants that all houses on this street should be at least two stories high and on a line twenty feet from the road. With this requisition there seems to have been a punctilious compliance. About twenty houses are already erected with great exactness and symmetry, and the remaining lots of land are correctly proportioned." Although no proof of any agreement of the kind referred to above has been found, it would seem not improbable, judging from the actual appearance of the street, that some agreement was made between the earlier owners of the lots. Such entire uniformity could scarcely result as a matter of chance.
GREEN STREET was laid out in 1828. It was named for James Green, a resident on the street.
GILMAN AVENUE, named in honor of Honorable Charles J. Gilman, was laid out as a private way, but was named by the town as a mark of respect to the owner of the land.
HARPSWELL STREET is a portion of the old road to Harpswell Island, which was laid out in the last century, but at precisely what date is not known.
HIGH STREET was laid out in 1850. It was first called Grove Street, and the name was changed to High in 1872.
ISLAND STREET, from Bow Street to the river opposite Shad Island, was accepted by the town in 1828.
LINCOLN STREET, named in honor of Doctor Isaac Lincoln, has never been accepted by the town.
MAINE STREET has been already described under the head of the "Twelve-Rod Road." The name Maine Street is applied to that portion of the road between the bridge and Mair Brook, as decided by the town in 1821. The name was given in honor of the then newly made State of Maine. It is often incorrectly spelled Main.
MILL STREET was laid out in 1717 by vote of the Pejepscot proprietors. It originally extended only to the upper falls, or a short distance beyond. In 1817 it was extended to Pleasant Street. It received its name in 1821.
MASON STREET was also laid out by the Pejepscot proprietors in 1717. In 1821 it was called Water Street. The name Mason Street was subsequently applied to it.
MCKEEN STREET, named in honor of Messrs. Joseph and John McKeen, was laid out by the Pejepscot proprietors in 1717. In 1821 it was named Cumberland Street. Its present name was given to it about 1840.
MIDDLE STREET was laid out and accepted in 1856.
NOBLE STREET was laid out in 1833 as a part of Union Street. In 1849 it was called Noble Street, as a mark of respect to Mr. John Noble, who resided upon the street.
O'BRIEN STREET was laid out and accepted in 1841. It was named in honor of Captain John O'Brien.
PLEASANT STREET is a part of the county road to Freeport, which was laid out in 1811. The name applies to that portion of the road between Maine Street and the gully, a short distance west of Powder-House Hill.
POTTER STREET was laid out and accepted in 1845, as far as Captain William Potter's, for whom it was named. In 1858 it was continued to Union Street.
PEARL STREET, from Federal to Stetson Street, was laid out and accepted in 1845, and subsequently extended to a short distance east of the railroad.
PAGE STREET, so named in honor of Doctor Jonathan Page, was laid out as a private road.
SCHOOL STREET was laid out early in this century. It received its name in 1828. The name was given to it because of the school which was for many years kept in the "old red school-house " on this street.
In 1850, School Street was widened, by adding to the northern side thirteen feet and nine inches on Federal Street, and six feet on Maine Street.
SPRING STREET was laid out and accepted in 1850, as far as the railroad.
STETSON STREET was laid out and accepted in 1850.
THOMPSON STREET was laid out and accepted in 1850. It was named for General A. B. Thompson.
UNION STREET, from O'Brien to Pleasant Streets, was laid out in 1828. In 1833 it was laid out from Mill Street as far as what is now Noble Street, the latter street then being a portion of Union Street. In 1849 the location of Union Street, between Pleasant and Noble Streets, was slightly altered. In 1858 it was continued south to Page Street, and subsequently to McKeen Street.
WATER STREET is the easterly portion of the Four-Rod road, laid out in 1717, from the fort to the landing. In 1828 the name was applied to the whole street, from Maine Street to the landing. Subsequently that portion of the street between Maine and Federal Streets was named Mason Street.
ROADS IN TOPSHAM
Although the number of roads which have been laid out in Topsham is not so large as that of Brunswick it has been found nearly as difficult to locate many of the early roads in the former place as it was in the latter. As an illustration of the indefinite manner in which many of the roads are recorded, the following is copied: "The Road begining at Issabella's Barn Running to William Alexander's house was laid out by the Selectmen in October 1774." It is, perhaps, needless to say that we have found no allusions to Isabella's barn elsewhere.
The first road laid out in Topsham was unquestionably one which was laid out by the Pejepscot proprietors, from the Narrows to the Cathance River. There is no record in the Pejepscot company's books of the laying out of this road, but the Topsham town records allude to it in 1764 as having been previously granted by the proprietors, and it is shown on the plan of the town, which was made for the proprietors in 1768, by John Merrill. This road started from the Androscoggin River, a few rods below the present residence of Mr. James Mustard, crossed the "Foreside" road, following the line of the Mustard and Hunter lots to the Cathance River. It was originally laid out four rods wide, but in 1764 the town voted to reduce it to two rods in width and to sell the remaining two rods. This road is
still in existence. The portion between the "Foreside" road and the county road to Bowdoinham is still travelled, and is known as "Lover's Lane." From the county road to the Cathance and from the "Foreside " road to the river the road is unused, but is fenced on each side, and is plainly distinguishable from the adjoining lots.
The second road was the county road to Bowdoinham, which was laid out before the incorporation of the town, about 1761 or 1762.1 From allusions to this road in the town records, it appears to have begun a short distance east of the village cemetery, where there was a ferry across the river to the landing on the Brunswick side.2 From this point the road ran substantially as it now runs, passing the tanyard and straight on to the old graveyard, thence turning to the left, passing the estate of the late George A. Rogers to the Cathance River, where there was a ferry, and from thence in about its present course to Bowdoinham.
These two roads were all the public roads that were in existence at the time of the incorporation of the town. There were doubtless a number of hay and wood roads in existence, but their location is not now known.
At the first meeting of the town in its corporate capacity, Thomas Wilson. Adam Hunter, John Reed, John Fulton, and John Merrill were chosen a committee to lay out the highways and roads through the town.
The first road mentioned in the records is what is now known as the "Foreside" road, beginning at Muddy River and following along the bay, and up the river to the county road at the top of the hill near the residence of Mr. Cyrus Purington. The county road, as previously stated, ended a short distance east of the village burying-ground. At this point a town highway began, which ran westerly, as Elm Street now runs, up by the Free-Will Baptist Meeting-House, and so on "to the first brook beyond John Whitten's house," which was a short distance beyond the Merrill homestead. In 1767 the road was continued to Little River. Various slight changes in the courses of this road were subsequently made.
The next road which was laid out by the town in 1764 was "from the county road near the meeting-house to the house of Gowen Fulton." This was what is now called the "lower road to Bowdoinham," in distinction from that which passes over the Cathance River.
1. Records of Court of General Sessions for Lincoln County.
2. The ferry from " Ferry Point" to the landing was of a later date.
At the same time a road was laid out from the meeting-house to the "Foreside" road, which was substantially the same as that which is now travelled from the Bowdoinham road to Bay Bridge.
In 1781, Samuel Thompson, John Merrill, Nathan Thwing, James Hunter, and David Reed were appointed by the Court of General Sessions, for Lincoln County, to lay out a road from the county road at Gideon Walker's, to the Bowdoin Line. It was doubtless soon afterwards laid out.
In 1790 what is now Main Street was laid out from the Granny-Hole Mill-right to the county road at Gideon Walker's Corner. This road was accepted in 1792 as a public highway.
In 1791 a road was accepted leading from the Bowdoin line over to the county road to Bowdoinham, which it entered "not far from Mr. Joseph Graves's house."
In 1792 a road was laid out from Main Street, at a point about opposite Summer Street, running across the grounds of the estate of the late Charles Thompson, to the river.
The road leading from the Little River road at "Whitehouse's Corner" to the county road to Bowdoin, near the residence of Mr. Benjamin Thompson, was laid out in 1792.
In 1795 the road across the island to the toll-bridge was laid out, two rods wide.
In 1797 a road was laid out from what is now Elm Street, between the Walker homestead and the Baptist Church, or very near there, running down the hill across the grounds of the late Doctor James McKeen to the town landing. Mr. James Wilson remembers this road, and says it was fenced on either side for its whole length. Mr. Wilson's father owned the land, and as the town would not vote to pay him for it, he closed it up.
The next year, 1798, a road corresponding to what is now Thompson Street was laid out from Main Street to the landing. The same year two county roads were laid out. One was from Littleborough, through Green, Lewiston, Bowdoin, Little River, and Topsham, to the Androscoggin Bridge. The other was from the same bridge to the south line of Litchfield. The course of both these roads through Topsham was over the town roads previously established.
In 1799 what is known as the Meadow road was laid out. What is now known as Green Street, from the Congregational Church to the Granny-Hole Bridge, was accepted by the town in 1799. A portion of this road from the church to Thompson Street had been made previously by Mr. James Wilson, Senior, as a private road, for
his own use, he making a log-bridge or causeway across what was then a gully, and which has since been filled up, the depression between the church and the Bowman House.
In 1803 the town was indicted by the grand jury for having bad roads. What is now known as Summer Street was laid out in 1826, and accepted by the town the following year. Pleasant Street, as far as Union Street, was laid out and accepted in 1828.
In 1851 the selectmen, by order of the town, assigned names to the streets and caused signs to be put up at the corners.
Orr Street was laid out in 1856.
At a meeting held in September, 1859, a committee was chosen to meet the county commissioners of the county of Cumberland, in Brunswick, for the purpose of opposing the laying out of a road from Cushing Street in Brunswick, so as to cross the Androscoggin River over Goose Rock, so called, and to continue through Topsham to the Lisbon road.
In 1862 the town voted to accept the road as laid out by the county commissioners from near Rufus Rogers's mill to the Androscoggin railroad bridge.
On October 10, 1863, a road or street was accepted leading from Main Street, on the Island, across the sand-bed to Water Street, opposite the residence of Mr. Eben Colby.
At a meeting, held September 12, 1864, the town voted to build the bridge across the drain and to discontinue the rest of the street, which was laid out in October, 1863, from Main Street (on the Island) to Water Street.
ROADS IN HARPSWELL.
It is not known precisely when the main roads on Harpswell Neck and on the Island were laid out. The earliest mention of them that we have found is in the records of the town for 1760, when it was voted "that the road through the Neck should stand as last laid out by Mr. Jonathan Flint, surveyor." The courses of the road, as laid out, were very nearly the same as those of the present one, but the road did not then go the end of Potts's Point.1
In 1761 it was voted that "the road on the Island laid out by the Proprietors should be a Town Road." No description of it is given at this date, but in 1786 Stephen Gatchell made a survey of "the main road " and other roads on the Island. It appears that this
1. See map, page 531
survey was simply to put on record the courses of the roads as formerly laid out.
The road from the ferry around the head of Long Reach was laid out in 1764.
In 1821 the road on Orr's Island was accepted as a town road, and a road on Great Island, from the Orr's Island bridge to the main road, was also accepted.
Various private roads and public roads of minor importance have also been laid out, from time to time, as the convenience of the inhabitants required.
FERRIES AND BRIDGES.
Before bridges were built, all the streams in this vicinity that were not sufficiently shoal to be safely fordable were crossed by means of ferries.
The earliest ferry of which there is any record was across the New Meadows River at the point of land a short distance below the present residence of Mr. Bartlett Adams. This was "Brown's Ferry." Precisely when it was established is not known. The earliest mention of it in the Brunswick town records is in 1765, and it is probable that it was established a short time previously to that date, by Benjamin Brown, who lived on the Georgetown (now Bath) side of the river. Brown kept this ferry until 1792.
At the annual meeting of the town of Brunswick in 1792, the town expressed its desire "that John Peterson, Esquire, would keep a ferry across New Meadows River where Benjamin Brown has kept for some years past." Peterson complied with this request, and maintained a ferry at this point until a bridge was built, which was somewhere about the year 1796, the precise date not being known.
A ferry across the Androscoggin, from Mr. James Mustard's in Topsham to a point a short distance below the present residence of Mr. Martin Storer in Brunswick, was established as early, probably, as 1768, at which time there was a road from the Cathance to the Androscoggin at Mustard's, and from the New Meadows River to a point nearly opposite Mustard's. It is known that there was for many years a ferry at this point called "Mustard's Ferry," but the date of its establishment is not known. James Mustard, of Topsham, was licensed by the Court of General Sessions for Lincoln County, to keep this ferry in 1784, but there must have been one kept at this spot long before. The ferry landing is still plainly discernible.
In 1781, Ezra Randall, of Topsham, was licensed to keep a ferry
from his landing to that of Stephen Andrews. This ferry was a short distance below the present Bay bridge.
There was also a ferry, at an early period in the last century, from the landing in Brunswick to the Topsham shore. On September 8, 1761, Samuel Wilson was licensed to keep a ferry over the Androscoggin River, about one hundred rods below the falls, and gave bonds in the sum of £20 for the faithful discharge of his trust. He was permitted to demand and receive of every passenger three "coppers," and three "coppers" for each horse ferried across. The Topsham landing-place was at first, probably, a short distance east of the present village burying-ground. Later, about 1783 to 1796, it was near the point at the end of the iron railroad bridge, which then went by the name of Ferry Point. During this later period, the ferry was kept by Brigadier Samuel Thompson.
It is stated in North's "History of Augusta"1 that in 1790, Henry Sewall and General Dearborn, who had been appointed marshal of the District, in going to Portland on horseback, to attend the District Court, went by the way of "Cobbosee" and Fort Richmond, and "swam the river at Abagadussett, and crossed Cathance and Brunswick Rivers in ferry-boats." Where the ferry across the Cathance was situated, we do not know, but it was probably at Bowdoinham village, as a bridge had been constructed long previously at the Cathance mill-right in Topsham, where the county road crossed that river. The ferry across the Androscoggin was doubtless that kept by Brigadier Thompson.
The first ferry in Harpswell of which we have any knowledge was established in 1764, as shown by the following extract from the town records:-
"Voted, to have a ferry started near the Narrows, a good ferry boat built and a convenient road for man and horse cleared to the head of Long Reach and over the head of Long Reach so called, at or before the first day of October next, and a ferry man to tend sd ferry on Sabbath days till half after nine of the clock in the morning and after meeting to ferry the people back again and to tend on Town Meetin days." Paul Raymond, Benjamin Jaques, and Nathaniel Purinto were chosen a committee to carry the vote into effect.
In 1772 one was established from Indian Point on Sebascodigan Island to Trotter's Point in Georgetown, by order of the Court of General Sessions. The fare was fixed at three "coppers" for a man,
1. Opus cit., p. 222.
six for a horse, eight for an ox, twelve for a yoke of oxen, five for a cow, and one each for swine or sheep.1
In 1795, Daniel Blaysdell, Jr., was licensed by the Court of General Sessions for Lincoln County to keep a ferry over New Meadows River from the landing near his house in Georgetown to the opposite landing in Harpswell, and gave bonds in the sum of one hundred and forty dollars for the faithful discharge of his duty. He was allowed to charge twenty-five cents as the fare for a man and horse. Temporary ferries also have been established across the Androscoggin at various times during the present century, when the toll-bridge was, for any cause, impassable. Of this character, probably, was the ferry in existence between Topsham and Brunswick in 1827, though it is possible the old ferry may have been continued to this date. From the records of the Court of General Sessions for Lincoln County, it appears that at this time James Wilson was discharged as a ferry-man, and Nathaniel Quint was. appointed in his place. At the same time the ferriage toll was increased as follows: For a horse and chaise, twenty. five cents; for a horse and coach, fifty cents; for a horse and rider, twelve and a half cents; for a horse and wagon, sixteen cents; for cart, oxen, and driver, thirty cents; for neat cattle, per head, six cents; for sheep and swine, per head, four cents; for foot passengers, three cents.
The first bridge over any considerable stream which was built in this vicinity was one over the Cathance River in Topsham, at the "mill-right," which was built in 1768. It cost forty dollars, or at least that was the amount appropriated by the town for the purpose.
The next bridge in point of date was what is now known as the Gurnet Bridge, connecting Brunswick and Great Island, Harpswell, which was built in 1789. It was rebuilt in 1839.
In 1795 an attempt was made to have a bridge built across the Androscoggin River by the towns of Brunswick and Topsham, and the town of Brunswick "voted very generally to build the one half of a bridge across Androscoggin River, to begin near Doctor Nye's Mill." A committee was chosen to "see the matter carried on," and the town also voted to raise £300 for building the bridge, but not to assess the money until leave to build it had been granted by the General Court. Nothing came of this attempt to construct a free bridge, but the next year certain persons were empowered by the legislature to build a toll-bridge from Nye's mill, in Brunswick, to the Middle Rock, and from thence to the rock below the "Great Mill" in Topsham.
1. Records of Court of General Sessions in County Commissioners' Office, Portland, 1772.
The Act incorporating "The Proprietors of Androscoggin Bridge" was passed and approved February 26, 1796. The incorporators were William King, Benj. Jones Porter, John Dunlap, Will. Stanwood, 3d, Cutting Noyes, Amos Lunt, James Stone, John Merrill, Jr., James Wilson, Daniel Clark, Joseph Langdon, Ebenezer Emerson, Isaac Johnson, John Blanchard, John Merrill, Pelatiah Haley, Actor Patten, Benj. Hasey, Wm. Owen, and Theo. Symmes. A schedule of rates of toll was prescribed by the Act, which should be in force for thirty ycars; after that, subject to legislation.
In March an additional Act was passed, fixing the number of shares at five hundred, at eight dollars each, and providing that no one person should purchase more than six shares within six days from the opening of the books, thus enabling persons of limited means to become shareholders and preventing the control of the bridge being monopolized by a few individuals. The bridge was built during the summer of 1796, and a toll-house was built in the fall. In the spring of 1811 the bridge was carried away by a freshet, and was rebuilt the sane year at a cost of $5,591.42.
June 22, 1814, the toll-house and greater part of the bridge were carried away by a freshet. They were at once rebuilt at an expense of $3,500. In the spring of 1827 the bridge was again carried away, and the directors voted to rebuild and to make the abutments of stone. Previously they had been made of wood. The expense, including a toll-house, was about $6,000. Since 1827 the bridge has not been disturbed by freshets.
ANDROSCOGGIN BRIDGE IN 1828.
In 1842 the bridge was destroyed by fire and rebuilt the same year. For some years previous to 1842 the bridge was a covered one. After that it was open. This bridge was repaired and made free April 10, 1871. The value set by the appraisers was $2,575. It is now owned by the towns of Brunswick and Topsham.
In 1795 the first bridge across the "Granny-Hole Stream," in Topsham, was erected, connecting the Island with the main land.
In 1796, according to Lemont, a bridge was built across the head of New Meadows River.1 This statement is probably erroneous, and the bridge built at that time was doubtless at Brown's Ferry, where in 1808 were the ruins of an old bridge.2
In 1805 the first turnpike bridge was built across New Meadows River.3
In 1806 a second bridge was built across the New Meadows River.4 This was probably the one at the head of the river alluded to by Lemont as having been built in 1796. This is the more probable, as in 1810 the town voted to build a road to Hayden's Bridge, and a Mr. Hayden lived near the head of the river at that time.
In 1829 a bridge was built from the Brunswick shore to Shad Island. "Father" Stetson wrote in his diary, under date of November 26, 1829, that he "walked to the new bridge to the Island amidst the falls." Previous to this time access to the Island was only had by means of boats.
The bridge connecting Great Island and Orr's Island was built at some time between 1833 and 1845, by Samuel Orr, Ralph Johnson, Jr., David Wyer, Thomas S. Jack, Michael Sinnett, John Conley, William Orr, Charles Black, Richard Orr, Jr., and William D. Orr, inhabitants of Orr's Island. In 1852 they gave the bridge to the town, and the town voted to accept it and to keep it in repair. The bridge was wantonly destroyed in 1857, and the town soon after rebuilt it.
Bull Rock Bridge was built in 1835. One half of it was paid for and owned by the town of Brunswick.
Bay Bridge was completed in July, 1836. It was built by the town of Bath at an expense of $12,000.5 Lemont 6 states the cost to have been $20,000. It was and is a toll-bridge.
In 1849 the railroad bridge across the New Meadows River was
1. Historical Dates of Bath, etc., p. 39.
2. Reminiscences of several aged citizens.
3. Massachusetts Special Acts.
4. Lemont, Historical Dates of Bath.
5. The Regulator, July 23, 1836.
6. Historical Dates of Bath, etc., p. 39.
built, and in 1850 the railroad bridge across the Androscoggin, below the falls, was built.
In 1859 considerable interest was excited in regard to a free bridge between Brunswick and Topsham. Public meetings were occasionally held for several years to consider the subject.
In 1860 the town of Brunswick voted to unite with the Androscoggin Railroad Company in building a bridge across the river, provided the cost to the town did not exceed $2,500, and provided the company would agree to keep the bridge in repair, except the flooring of the public travelled way.
Topsham opposed the building of a bridge at Goose Rock, but favored building one at Shad Island. The bridge was, however, built and opened to the public on March 27, 1861.
Besides those which have been enumerated, there were many small bridges across brooks and gullies which were not of sufficient importance to merit any extended notice in these pages. The following bridges of this description are mentioned simply to show the changes which have been made in the roads and streets at the places where they were formerly located.
In Topsham there was, in 1764 and later, a bridge across "Gravel Island Gully," near the tan-yard of Mr. Cyrus Purrington. There was also one at the same time over the brook and gully near the village burying-ground. In 1802, and probably earlier, there was a bridge across the deep gully on what is now Winter Street, just back of Goud's store. The bridge was fifteen or twenty feet above the brook which flowed under it. About this time a horse belonging to Thomas Wilson fell off the bridge and was killed by the fall, and the chaise to which the animal was attached was considerably injured. There was no railing to the bridge, and the town was therefore liable for damages. In 1804 the town voted Mr. Wilson three hundred dollars, and thereby probably saved a lawsuit.
In Brunswick there was a bridge across the ravine on Bow Street. It was first built by private parties, but in 1833 the selectmen were instructed to rebuild it. It was a trestle-work bridge, about ten feet high.
There was a similar bridge at Stone's Brook, on Pleasant Street, west of Powder-House Hill.
In 1825 there was a small bridge on Federal Street, at the foot of the hill.