Monmouth the north-westerly town of Kennebec County, is about 16 miles from Augusta, and about 48 miles from Portland, on the line of the Maine Central Railway from the latter place to Waterville. The town is nearly square in its form; and is bounded on the east by Litchfield and West Gardiner, north by Winthrop and Wayne, and having the town of Wales, in Androscoggin County on the south, and Green and Leeds, in the same county, on the west. On or near the border lie five ponds, commencing at the south-east with Purgatory ponds, there follow Cobbossee Contee Great Pond at the north-east, Annabessacook at the north, Androscoggin Pond at the north-west, and parallel to and south-easterly of this, Wilsons' Pond. The latter takes its name from a man who was drowned in it by the Indians. The first settlers found a small tribe of these residing in town, who gradually disappeared. In the western part of the town lies Cochnewagan Pond, whose outlet furnishes the power for the manufactories at Monmouth Centre. There are a grain mill, capable of grinding seventy-five bushels of wheat per day, and of corn, five or six hundred; a sash-factory, a saw-mill with capacity to saw from five to seven thousand feet of boards per day; a shingle-mill and carpenter's shop. The other villages are South Monmouth, East Monmouth and North Monmouth. At each of these is a post-office, and the Maine Central Railway has a station at the Centre. At East Monmouth, on the outlet of Annabessacook Pond, is a saw and shingle mill; and on the outlet of Wilson's Pond at North Monmouth is a factory for making shovels, hoes, and axes, a grist-mill, and several lesser manufactures.
The surface is uneven, but it is said that there is not a lot of waste land in town. The most extensive elevation of land is Oak Hill, from 150 to 200 feet high. The underlying rock is principally granite, and the soil is a gravelly loam. Agriculture is the chief occupation of the inhabitants; and excellent crops of hay, apples and potatoes are produced. The town also yields considerable quantity of beef cattle and dairy products.
The first settlers are believed to be Thomas Gray, Joseph Allen, Philip Jenkins, Reuben Ham and Jonathan Thompson, who removed from Brunswick in the winter of 1777. Two years later arrived Ichabod Baker, John Welch, Alexander Thompson, Hugh Mulloy, and John and Benoni Austin. Peter Hopkins and James Blossom came in 1781, and some thirty others soon after. Among the latter were General (then Colonel) Henry Dearborn, Simon and Benjamin Dearborn and John Chandler. The territory was part of the Plymouth Patent. At the close of the Revolutionary war, General Dearborn became proprietor of 5,225 acres of land in the township, upon which he erected farm buildings and mills, residing constantly upon his property for several years, and spending a portion of his time here for the remainder of his life. John Chandler came as an itinerant blacksmith, the poorest man in the settlement in respect to money. But his talents were of a high order, and he rose to be Major General of the State Militia, a representative in Congress, a United States senator and later was appointed collector of the port of Portland. Among other residents were General James McClellan, afterward of Bath, Colonel Greenleaf Dearborn, of the United States army, General Ira Blossom, of Buffalo, New York, and Hon. Anson G. Chandler.
During its existence as a plantation, it bore at different times the names of Freetown, Bloomingsborough and Wales. It was incorporated as a town in 1792, and at the suggestion of General Dearborn, received the name it now bears in commemoration of the battle of Monmouth, in which he bore a part.
There are six church-edifices in town, belonging to the Congregationalists, the Calvinist and the Free Baptists, and the Methodists. Monmouth Academy, founded in 1803, was for many years in the front rank of the itinerary institutions of the State; and many eminent persons have here received a part of their education. Monmouth has besides fourteen public schoolhouses, valued at $5,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $592,068. In 1880 it was $609,042. The population in 1870 was 1,744. By the census of 1880 it is now placed at 1,520.
A Gazetteer of the State of Maine By Geo. J. Varney Published by B. B. Russell, Boston 1886
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