History of Ellsworth

Category: Hancock County Published: Sunday, 16 February 2014 Written by Carol Eddleman Print Email


Extracts from a lecture or address by Dr. Calvin Peck, of Ellsworth, in 1837-8, printed in the "Ellsworth American," Nov. 19, 1869, and since re-printed by that newspaper in 1888.

Mr. Chairman:

I have been requested by one of the Committee of the Lyceum to collect the materials and write a history of this town, beginning at its first settlement. The materials are scanty, because I do not find there are any public records prior to the organization of the town to be found, nor do I learn that any of the early settlers kept a journal of any records that would throw much light on the subject. In addition to this all the heads of the first families who settled here have gone the way of all the earth and are lying in their long repose, as Logan said of his kindred, "Not one remains." Much interesting information might have been collected 20 years ago...

Some of the immediate descendants of the first families who settled here are alive; from them I have derived a part of the information I am in possession of.

Williamson in his "History of Maine," says that the first settlement in this town was made in 1763. This would be 75 years ago. All the oldest persons now alive agree that Benjamin Milliken and Thomas Milliken, his brother, were the first persons who made any improvemants. They built a double saw mill on the site where Col. Black's mills now stand. I have often been told by Mrs. Lord, wife of Capt. Isaac Lord, of Surry, that she was the first female who came to this place. She was the daughter of Benjamin Milliken and was fourteen years old when she came here; a camp was erected against a large rock behind the store of Samuel Dutton. In that camp her father lived, and she did the cooking for the family of men, till a house was built. This house stood between the house now owned by Mr. Bunker and Benjamin I. Tinker's house built in that place. The remains of the old cellar are now to be seen.

Mrs. Lord died in May, A.D., 1838, aged 87 years. From this it would appear that she was born in 1751, add to this her age (14 years) when she came, and it will prove that she came here with her father in 1765, two years later than Williamson states the first settlement to have been made. It is likely that it took Mr. Milliken one or two seasons to build a dam and mills before he brought any part of his family that therfore Williamson's date might be correct.

Capt. John Tinker, now 82 years old, came here when fourteen years old, in the year 1770, an apprentice to Edward Beale. Mr. Beale was from Old York. Mr. Beale settled on the lot Edward Beale now lives on.

When Capt. Tinker came here the following families were already settled:

Benjamin Milliken lived near Boat Cove, Thomas Milliken at the mills, John Murch on the lot now owned by Col. Dutton, James Davis on M. Means' lot.

Poindextre [Poindexter?] on the lot owned by Samuel Joy, Benjamin Joy on the lot Ivory H. Joy lives on.

Capt. Haslan, also James Treworgy, Spencer Treworgy and Jacob Treworgy, these three, with one, Seavey, who lived on the lot now owned by Jesse Means, Surry, were all lost at once at sea, going to the westward in winter.

When Capt. Tinker came here there was a double saw mill, owned by the Millikens on the east side of the river, and a saw mill on the west side. There was no grist mill for several years; the settlers went to mill at Gouldsboro and Bluehill.

When the revolutionary war began, or after the British army under Gen. McLane in 1779 took Castine, Benjamin Milliken moved there and kept a boarding house to 83 [1783?] and then went to Mackadavie.

The mills fell into Col. Jones' hands for debt. Capt. Tinker first took up the lot owned by Mr. Card and exchanged with them for the Foster lot, on which he afterwards lived.

Trenton was incorporated in 1798, and after that, till Ellsworth was incorporated, the people of Ellsworth were taxed by Trenton.

Reeds' Brook, settled 46 years ago; first settlers, Josiah Garland, Henry Maddocks and Samuel Maddocks. Henry Maddocks did not stay long, sold his improvements to Gara Townsend.

It is singular, considering that No. 7 was situated on considerable of a river, on which were several eligible mill sites, and the lands on the river and adjoining to it covered with valuable timber, yet Bluehill, Trenton, Gouldsboro, Sullivan and Mt. Desert were incorporated in 1780, and Ellsworth was not incorporated until 1800.

Census of the State in 1790, 96,540. This year Maine (as if a separate State) was expressly formed into a district by Congress, and jurisdiction assumed over all its affairs, belonging to the national government; all the coasts and ports in Maine were classed into nine commercial districts; in each a collector was appointed, Col. M. Jordan collector of Frenchman's Bay, 1790.

Benjamin Smith, son of John Smith, who lived the latter part of his life in Surry, was the first child born on this river. John Smith's wife was Polly Milliken, daughter of Benjamin Milliken.

Make enquiry of James Treworgy, Mrs. Hopkins, Lt. Jos. [Joseph?] Moore.

Spencer Treworgy's wife (he was lost at sea) married a Stewart, had one child (now Mrs. Gwinn.) He died and she married Mr. Ebenezer Jordan. Stewart lived on the lot now owned by Peter Nourse.

Benjamin Milliken and Thomas claimed the mill privileges on both sides of the river. The first dam and mill built on this river did not stand long, was carried away by the freshet. When the second dam was built the Millikens, feeling unable to build the whole, let the settlers have the privilege on the west side, they building half of the dam. The mill on the west side was owned by John Murch, Benjamin Joy, Samuel Joy and others. Benjamin Millken sold his part of the mill to Col. Nathan Jones and Thomas Milliken also sold him his half.

Col. Jones, just before his death, sold the mill and mill lot to one, Fabrique, who sold to Peters and Pond.

Theodore Jones, Esq., came to this reiver in 1784, came into possession of the Milliken lot, where the village now stands. The first grist mill, after 84 years, was built and owned by Mr. Maddocks [Maddox?] on the Maddocks dam.

First county road laid out from Bluehill to Ellsworth and Sullivan laid out in 1792.

In 1761, a period of 85 years, the territory of Maine contained only 17,000 or 18,000 English inhabitants. After '63, it being supposed the Indian wars were at an end, and there being a prospect of a long peace (in 1764 population of Maine was 24,000), a spirit of emigration prevailed.

Accordingly, we find that in 1763 improvements were commenced on Union river which led to a permanent settlement, and therefore, to this period, I refer the first settlement of this town, as the Indian wars were over before this settlement commenced. The early settlers were principally from Saco river and vicinity. They had followed the lumbering business there and came to this place with the same object in view, accordingly, we find for many years lumbering was the primary business of the people.

(Source: The Bangor Historical Magazine, Vol. 5, July, 1889 -- June, 1890; Jos. W. Porter, Ed. & Pub., History of Ellsworth, pp. 106-107.)

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