Maine Genealogy Blog

History of Hamlin's Gore

Source: William Berry Lapham, The History of Woodstock, Maine: with family sketches and an appendix (Portland Me.: S. Berry, printer, 1882)

[p. 58] The territory formerly comprising Hamlin's Gore or "Hamlin's Grant," as it was sometimes incorrectly called, was a long and narrow strip 249 rods wide at the east end, next to Milton Plantation, and 294 rods wide at the west end, next to Greenwood, and situated between the grant to Dummer Academy and Bethel. The township of Sudbury Canada, now Bethel, was first lotted out and fixed by metes and bounds, and when the grant was made to Dummer Academy, it was intended that its north line should be the south line of Bethel; but the surveyor, mistaking a spotted line made by sable hunters for Bethel line, fixed the north line of the grant to Dummer Academy here, leaving the strip just described between the two townships. This line was also fixed by metes and bounds so that Hamlin's Gore was not included in the conveyance to the trustees or from the trustees to Mr. Little. The original survey of the Gore was by David Noyes, Esq., of Norway, who gave it the following dimensions: On Milton Plantation line, 249 rods; on Bethel line, 936 rods; on Greenwood line, 294 rods; and on Woodstock line, 888 rods, and containing about 1,400 acres. He divided it into thirteen lots of unequal size and of the following dimensions:

Number one, 120 acres, Number six, 100 acres,

Number two, 120 acres, Number seven, 80 acres,

Number three, 120 acres, Number eight, 50 acres,

Number four, 100 acres, Number nine, 145 acres,

Number five, 100 acres, Number ten, 116 acres,

[p. 59] Number eleven, 115 acres, Number thirteen, 70 acres.

Number twelve, 85 acres

The surface, like that of most of the town of Woodstock, is uneven and the soil hard to work, but productive. A large part of the North Alder River Pond is within its borders, the southwest corner of the Gore being in the pond.

On the 26th day of February 1816, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts deeded this land to Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, of Paris, for and in consideration of the sum of six hundred dollars. Dr. Hamlin soon afterwards sold an undivided half of the territory to Mr. John Daniels, of Paris. The land was immediately lotted out, with a view to having it settled. The first settler was Jonathan T. Clifford, son of Joseph of Woodstock. April 2, 1816, he purchased part of lot number nine, but had previously built him a log house on the shore of the pond which was then called "Clifford's Pond." In a bond which he gave to the town of Woodstock for the support of his mother, he is called "of a place called Hamlin's Grant." His wife was Widow Hodges, a sister of Benjamin Bacon of Greenwood. He had left the place prior to 1827, removing to the eastern part of the State. Two other early settlers were Asa and Caleb B. Barrows, who took the triangular-shaped lot numbered ten. They built two log houses near Greenwood line; Asa, father of Caleb, lived here with his daughter Polly, until she became the wife of Morton Curtis, when he went to live with them; Caleb continued to reside in his log house until about the year 1841, when he moved to Linneus, in the County of Aroostook. He died there a few years ago, quite aged. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and was in the engagements in northern New York; he drew a pension during his last few years. Tilden Bartlett moved to the Gore quite early from Paris. He bought lots number seven and eight. After a few years, he moved across the line into Bethel, disposing of his lands in the Gore to his brother Sylvanus. This is now the Pearson place. John Buck of Buckfield, bought lot number eleven and occupied it. [p. 60] His daughter's husband, Wm. R. Hemmingway, subsequently lived upon it. Isaac, and his son, Geo. W. Cummings, came here from Greenwood, and had part of lot number nine. Porter and Peter Kimball, sons of Peter of Bridgton, came to the Gore about the year 1815. Porter finally commenced to clear land adjoining the Gore, but within the limits of Bethel. In a couple of years, he sold out to Abijah Lapham, and moved to Rumford. Peter Kimball took up lot number one, which he occupied for more than thirty years. He was probably the second settler on the Gore. He was a wheelwright and an industrious and enterprising man. His large family of boys, who for energy and business capacity have a wide reputation, are mentioned elsewhere. He had a carriage shop where he carried on business many years, most of his sons getting their primary knowledge of the business, which they afterwards made so successful, in this little shop. Subsequently Jonathan Kimball, brother of Peter, came and settled on lot number two. Josiah Moody, a native of Portland, came to the Gore from Paris and settled on lot number five. A portion of this lot is still owned and occupied by his grandson, Ansel Moody. That part of the farm where the buildings formerly stood was afterwards added to the Bailey farm. The original Bailey farm, lot number four, was owned by a Mr. Low and also by Barney Perry, both of whom cut trees and cleared land, but never lived upon it. Jacob Reed built the first buildings and lived upon the lot until he sold out to Bailey. Abram Jordan, of Norway, bought lot number twelve, but never lived upon it. It was afterwards owned by Daniel and Moses Cummings, and has had many occupants since. The westerly lines of lots number one two and three, are crooked, conforming to the direction of the "Whale's Back," a ridge of land thus called.

Hamlin's Gore was first organized for plantation purposes in 1826, the warrant for the first meeting having beeen issued by John Thompson, Esq., by direction of Henry Rust, Esq., Treasurer of Oxford County. The meeting was held at the dwelling [p. 61] house of Peter Kimball, July 10, 1826, and the following Plantation officers were chosen: For Moderator, Tilden Bartlett; Clerk, Geo. W. Cummings; Assessors, Peter Kimball, Geo. W. Cummings and Tilden Bartlett; Collector, Josiah Moody, Jr.; Treasurer, Peter Kimball. On the 17th of April following, a meeting was called by the Assessors, the warrant issued to Josiah Moody, Jr.; Wm. R Hemmingway was chosen Moderator, Geo. W. Cummings, Clerk; Tilden Bartlett, Geo. W. Cummings and Caleb B. Barrows, Assessors; Josiah Moody, Jr., Collector and Treasurer. The following sums were raised: For plantation purposes, twenty dollars; for roads, ten dollars; to be expended on the Locke's Mills road, twelve dollars; for school purposes, fifteen dollars. Tilden Bartlett was elected School Agent, and Geo. W. Cummings, Highway Surveyor. It was voted to petition the Court of General Sessions for a road to Greenwood line, in the direction of Locke's Mills. Asa Barrows was chosen Agent, to present the matter before the Court.

On the third day of June, 1827, a committee consisting of Tilden Bartlett, Geo. W. Cummings and Caleb B. Barrows laid out and located the road leading from Greenwood line to the County road between Rumford and Paris. This Rumford and Paris road was the one located in 1795; it ran across the Gore. The road laid out by the Gore committee is essentially the one still traveled, the changes having been slight. On the twenty-seventh day of June following, at a plantation meeting, the road was accepted. At the meeting in April, 1828, Peter Kimball and Wm. R. Hemmingway were chosen Superintending School Committee—the first board chosen. Twenty dollars were raised for the support of schools, and it was voted to join Bethel district in building a school house, "admitting we can have the privilege of building one-half of the house." At the annual meeting in 1830, it was voted to raise fifty dollars to be expended on the Gore road, and to open the road in two years. At this meeting it was voted that the [p. 62] assessors shall be allowed on their highway tax for their services.

The following tax list, made out and certified by the first assessors in 1827, shows the number of tax payers in the plantation, and the amount of taxes each one was assessed:

Geo. W. Cummings, 2.28

Tilden Bartlett, 1.48

Wm. R Hemmingway, 2.42

Isaac Cummings, 1.52

Caleb B. Barrows, 1.86

Polly Barrows, 0.26

John Buck, 0.30

Josiah Moody, Jr., 1.88

Jonathan Kimball, 1.70

Josiah Moody, 0.26

Peter Kimball, 2.33

Francis Kimball, 0.70

Barnabas Perry, 1.15

Thomas Darmon, 0.50

Abijah Lapham, 0.15

Cyrus Hamlin and John Daniels, non-residents, 1.50

Francis Kimball was a brother of Peter; he lived here only a short time and committed suicide. Abijah Lapham was not a resident but was taxed on a small piece of land. Thomas Darmon came here from Buckfield and built a small house south of the burying ground, on Whale's Back. He was here about three years and returned to Buckfield. Barnabas Perry was not a resident but owned the Bailey farm. In 1831, thirteen polls were taxed. Simeon Buck had come here, and his sons Stephen and Harrison Buck had become of age; Abijah and James Lapham had moved here from Bethel. This year thirty scholars were reported. In 1832, there were eleven voters; the new comers were Sylvanus Bartlett, Robert Bearce and Jacob Read. John Buck had died, and Tilden Bartlett, Abijah and James Lapham, and some others, had gone away.

In 1833 there was a movement to annex the plantation to Woodstock, and George W. Cummings was chosen a committee to take charge of the matter. This year the plantation voted to build a school house and to locate it as near the center as possible; Caleb B. Barrows, Josiah Moody and Robert Bearce were a committee to find the center of the District. Peter [p. 63] Kimball was chosen an agent to superintend the building of the school house. It was voted to allow gates across the road through the Gore. The school house was built on the road near where the pound was afterwards built. It was burned in a few years, and a new one built on the present location. In 1834, Isaac Hicks was a resident and was elected Hogreeve. The records show that the plantation had two law suits on its hands, one with "Eustis," and one with "Estes." In 1835, Peter Kimball offered to board the school mistress for twenty-five cents per week. It was voted to build a road from Mr. Bearce's to the County road. In 1836, $26 were raised for schools and $125 for roads. Samuel Bailey was in the plantation. It was voted to build a road around "Barrow's Hill," and another to Simeon Buck's place. At an adjourned meeting, it was voted to build a road to Benj. Brooks' land. At the April, 1837, meeting, it was voted to receive the surplus revenue, and Peter Kimball was chosen to go and get it; it was also voted to divide it per capita among the families in the plantation. The following sums were received by each family: George W. Cummings, $18.30; Caleb B. Barrows, $18.30; Hudson Bailey, $11.64; Stephen Buck, $8.32; Peter Kimball, $16.64; Jonathan Kimball, $6.65; Joseph Cummings, $30.31; Sylvanus Bartlett, $11.64; Robert Bearce, $6,65; Simeon Buck, $8.32; Benj. Brooks, $4.99; Josiah Moody, $11.65. The amount per capita was $1.661/3, which would show the whole number of inhabitants at this time to be 92. In 1838, it was voted to raise $4 for plantation charges, $26 for schools and $100 for roads. It was voted that the expense of assessing taxes be allowed on the highway tax of the assessors. This year the vote for Governor stood, for John Fairfield, 13; for Edward Kent, 1.

In 1839, Andrew Cates and Hiram Day had moved into the plantation. In 1840, Reward Bryant moved into the plantation from Paris; he married a daughter of Geo. W. Cummings. In 1847, the plantation pound was built. Previous to this, the [p. 64] plantation, at the annual meeting, had designated some barn yard to be the pound for a year. These little details of plantation affairs may have no general interest, but they go to make up plantation life and history. The early settlers of the Gore were simple in their habits and economical in their mode of living, and carried the same economy into plantation affairs that they practiced in their daily lives.

Nothing came of the effort to annex the Gore to Woodstock in 1833, nor was it any great source of regret to the plantation. They would have some advantages in a town that the plantation organization could not afford, but the present organization also had its advantages. Their public affairs could be managed in a more economical way and the taxes were much less. Four or five dollars in money a year answered for plantation purposes, the accounts of the plantation officers being allowed on their highway taxes. The money raised for the support of schools was often paid in produce from the farm, so that the burdens of taxation were lightly felt and easily borne. In 1847, there was a project started by Phineas Frost and others, of Bethel, for the incorporation of a new town, made up of the east part of Bethel, Milton plantation and the Gore. The plan found much favor in Bethel, but was stoutly resisted by the Gore and defeated.

After this, the affairs of the plantation moved on in a very quiet way. Some changes had been made in the population. Caleb Barrows, with his large family, had gone to Aroostook, and Daniel H. Crockett took his farm. Geo. W. Cummings, with several grown up boys, went west and Hiram Day moved from his hill farm to the place made vacant by Mr. Cummings. Sylvanus Bartlett moved to Greenwood and was succeeded by Wm. O. Pearson. Simeon Buck moved away and his place was occupied by Geo. W. Crockett, who married Esther, daughter of Robert Bearce. John G. Burns occupied the Peter Kimball place, and after living a few years in a new house built nearly opposite the Bailey place, Mr. Kimball moved to Norway, where [p. 65] several of his sons had gone. A few years later, Hudson and Samuel Bailey sold out to John B. Merrill and went west, where the latter soon died. The old Moody place, south of Bailey's, afterwards occupied by Andrew Cates, had been dismantled some years before, and the land added to the Bailey farm. Josiah Moody built a stand on the hill, near the west part of the lot where Ansel Moody now lives.

The last census taken of the Gore as a separate municipality was in 1870. There were then in the plantation seventeen dwelling houses, eighteen families and ninety-five inhabitants, only three more than in 1837, when the surplus revenue was divided. The inhabitants consisted of forty-four white and one colored males, and fifty white females. The names and ages, by families, as recorded by the census enumerator were as follows:

1. John G. Burns 58, Eliza G. 21, Josephine 9.

2. John A. Buck 40, Mary C. 35, Emma E. 16, Solomon C. 13, George E. 11, Freddie 9, Mary J. 6, Cora A. 4, Amos A. 2.

3. Emeline McCrillis 37, Ida F. 14, Georgie E. 12, Nellie A. 9, Lorilla F. 5.

4. Albert Billings 36, Julia A. 33, Albert O. 14, Geo. W. 12, Charles H. 9, Cora E. 7.

5. Joseph Cummings 61, Clara 26, Roscoe W. 23.

6. Hezekiah S. Pingree 41, Roxana B. 33, Iva A. 3, Isaac H. 1.

7. Hiram Day 56, Eben E. Peverley 29, Carrie E. Peverley 23, Herbert E. 6, Capitola B. 1.

8. James B. Dudley 38, Ellen 29.

9. Wm. O. Pearson 54, Clementine 48, Wm. H. 29, Mary E. 19, Delia S. Moore 15.

10. Robert Bearce 69, Betsey 68, Leroy D. Morgan 26, Mary E. 26.

11. Geo. W. Crockett 40, Esther F. 39, Elizabeth F. 15. Robert B. 12, Georgiana 9, Harry 7, William 6, Lucy A. 5, [p. 66] Jonathan 3, James H. Swan 40, Imogene 9, Frank Williams (colored) 23.

12. Ansel Moody 45, Mary P. 38, Fred. 14, Frank 10, Josiah 6. 13. John Buck 66, Hannah 68, Jerusha 24.

14. Arabella Estes 29, John G. 12, Sylvester B. 9, Anna E. 5, Irving 3, Emogene 1.

15. Oliver G. Swan 44, Lois E. 31, Eliza J. 13, Letis A. 11, Sibyl B. 10, Moses A. 8, Arvilla 5, Cora A, 2, Henry E. A.

16. Peter Brooks 47, Arvilla 44, Henrietta 16, Prescott 23, Clarinda 12, Christiana 10, Wm. E. 4.

17. Jonathan Kimball 72, Satina 62, Almeda Newton 31, Anna H. 8.

18. John B. Merrill 39, Sarah M. 31, Cora J. 6.

When this census was taken, Jonathan Kimball was the last survivor of the first settlers then living on the Gore, and he died soon after. John Buck and Joseph Cummings were here early, but they were minors when they came, and the former, when of age, settled in Bethel, where he lived many years and then returned here. In 1873, Hamlin's Grant was annexed to Woodstock, and the circumstances which led to it were briefly these. John B. Merrill, formerly of Pray & Merrill, traders at Bryant's Pond, sold out and bought the Bailey farm on the Gore. He was a man of considerable energy and push, and entered into several business enterprises which proved unsuccessful. To retrieve his waning fortunes, he opened a liquor shop at his house, and under the protection of the licensing board of the plantation, of which be was one, he disposed of large quantities of liquor which he purchased of the State Liquor Agent. The report of that official for 1873, showed that Merrill had purchased the year previous over three thousand dollars' worth. It was sold in Woodstock, Milton Plantation and Rumford, and in fact, into towns quite remote from the Gore. It was regarded by temperance people as a nuisance, and the prosecuting officer of the County was appealed to, but declared himself powerless to do anything so long as Merrill was protected by a license, and circumstances were such that he could hold the license as long as he pleased. There was only one chance left, and that was to annex the plantation to the staunch temperance town of Woodstock, and measures were at once taken to accomplish this result. The movement was begun on the Gore, in the shape of a petition to the Legislature, which was signed by Ansel Moody, W. O. and W. H. Pearson and a few others, and by a large number of voters in Woodstock. At the hearing before the Legislative committee, Merrill appeared and defended, but the committee were practically unanimous in favor of annexation and so reported ; the measure was then carried through the Legislature with but little difficulty, and its approval by the Governor put an end to Hamlin's Gore as separate organization, and to its legalized liquor shop. Merrill soon after moved away, owing the State liquor agent quite a large sum, for which the inhabitants of the Gore were responsible, and the collection of which was enforced by legal process. It has been nine years since the Gore lost its identity and became a part of Woodstock; it was only returning to Woodstock that territory which belonged to it, and which was left off by a mistake of the surveyor made seventy-five years before.

 Published July 23, 2009