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Pittsfield Historical Society's

History of Pittsfield

History of Pittsfield, Maine
A Gazetteer of the State of Maine
by Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill, Boston 1886

Pittsfield lies in the south-eastern part of Somerset County, 20 miles east of Skowhegan. The Maine Central Railroad passes through the south-eastern part, having a station at East Pittsfield. From the form of this town, it appears to have been what was left after all the towns about it had taken what land they wanted. Yet it has a productive soil of sandy loam, though in a few places. Along the Sebasticook, which runs southward through the eastern part of the town, there are many granite bowlders. The surface in general is very level, but lies principally on a large swell inclining to the east and west. The town is well wooded with all the trees common in the region except pine. The farmers have given much attention to fruit-growing, and consequently there are many fine apple orchards. Sibley Ponds lies on the western border of the town at the north. The streams are small except the Sebasticook, on which at East Pittsfield are the prin- cipal manufactories. There are here a saw-mill for long and short lumber, a shingle-mill, a woolen-mill, a grain-mill, etc. The Maine Central Institute, near this village, has an elegant building, with suitable appointments, and is an excellent and flourishing school. It fits many students for Bates and other colleges.

The town was formerly known as Plymouth Gore, and was a part of the Kennebec Purchase. The first settler was Moses Martin, from Norridgewock, who in 1794, took up his residence at a bend of the Sebasticook about 2 miles below the village. In 1800 came George Brown of Norridgewock, William Bradford, and a Mr. Wyman from Vassalboro. Messrs. Brown and Wyman built the first mills. In 1804 John Sibley and John Spearing removed hither from Fairfield, settling on the westerly side, east of Sibley's Pond. In 1806, John Merrick, from Hallowell, settled here. Dominicus Getchell removed hither from West Anson in 1811; Joseph McCanslin, from Hallowell in 1813, and John Webb from Waterville in 1815. About the same time came Timothy McIntire and Stephen Kendal, both of whom were prominent in the affairs of the town in its early period. Pittsfield was organized as the plantation of Sebasticook in 1815; but on account of difficulty in collecting the taxes the organization was abandoned. On June 19, 1819, it was incorporated under the name of Warsaw. The first town meeting under this name was held at John Webb's dwelling, July 19, 1819. Stephen Kendal was elected delegate to a convention to frame a state constitution; and in the same year the town gave 19 votes - the whole number - for the new constitution. In 1824, the name was changed from Warsaw to Pittsfield in honor of William Pitts of Boston, who was then a large proprietor of land here. In 1828, a portion of the “Ell of Palmyra” belonging to Joseph Warren of Boston, and con- taining 4,200 acres, was annexed to Pittsfield.

The town lost 35 men of the number sent into the Union army during the war of the Rebellion. There are societies of Free Baptists, Universalists, Methodists and Christians in the town, and the three first have churches. The number of public schoolhouses is eleven,-- which are valued at $5,000. The population in 1870 was 1,813. In 1880 it was 1,909. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $518,515. In 1880 it was $460,709. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 16 mills on the dollar.

Original Version: 30-Dec-09.

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File name: HistoryOfPittsfield_1886.shtml
Version: Wednesday 30 December, 2009